- Code LAWS8033
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by ANU Law School
- ANU College ANU College of Law
- Course subject Laws
- Areas of interest Law
- Academic career PGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
This is a course about prisons and the people who inhabit them. Prison, Prisoners and the Law is also about journeys and stories, or ‘narratives’. The course considers why people get to prison, key aspects of their incarceration and challenges associated with the transition from prison to the community.
Prisoners are among the most disadvantaged end-users of the legal system. The way we treat prisoners is contextualised by a variety of historical, political, social and economic factors. The way we treat prisoners is also contextualised by what we think we know – and what we’re told – about the place of punishment in a modern criminal justice system. Similarly, but often overlooked, the way prisoners are treated is sometimes reflected in the way we teach, train, recruit and support the uniformed and non-uniformed staff who work with and look over them.
This course will consider some of the dilemmas in corrections in Australia and explore the ways in which reform in corrections can lead to improved socio-legal outcomes for prisoners. The course will give you a better understanding of the theory and contemporary practice of reforming law in the corrections context, and you will participate in learning activities designed to develop your understanding of the various reasons for reforming the law in this context.
Fundamental concepts of law reform and corrections will be reviewed, as will some of the key dilemmas in corrections. Additionally, common risk factors that lead to incarceration – the pathways to prison – will be explored. The purpose of punishment and new wave emphasis on rehabilitation will be examined, as will the application of human rights in prisons and the importance of external oversight of the conditions of detention. The course will also examine the transition and reintegration of prisoners from places of detention to the community. Justice reinvestment will be examined as an example of one framework designed to reform reliance on custodial arrangements.
Overall, the course will encourage you to reflect on the normative capacity of the law; that is, the power of the law to tell us how things ought to be. More specifically, the course will provide you with an understanding of what it might mean to work in the community legal sector, or as a legal aid lawyer. The course will also provide you with an understanding of what it might mean to work as a government lawyer and the challenges involved in developing useful legal policy amid the hustle and bustle of the politics of law reform. The course will certainly give you an understanding of the importance of facilitating opportunities for voice among the most vulnerable individuals and groups in society, the importance of identifying and listening to stakeholders, and an appreciation of navigating interests and opinions.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Identify, explain and apply specialised knowledge and skills, in the area of corrections and law reform, especially insofar as reforming the law impacts on places of criminal detention;
- Demonstrate, through critical examination and evaluation, an advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge in the area of law reform efforts in juvenile justice or adult corrections;
- Critically analyse, reflect upon and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories as they apply in the area of juvenile justice, adult corrections and law reform;
- Explain, distinguish and apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment, adaptability and responsibility in research and learning; and
- Demonstrate, at masters level, the ability to plan and execute a research project to demonstrate legal research principles and methodologies by applying critical analysis and application of legal principles and practice to complex matters arising in criminal detention.
- Case Note (2,400 words) (30) [LO null]
- Presentation to class (10) [LO null]
- Research Paper (5000 words) (60) [LO null]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours. Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.
Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsThere is no prescribed text for this course.
Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.
Assumed KnowledgeStudents without an Australian law degree must have completed LAWS8587 Legal Framework of Regulation
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.