CRIM 202

Contemporary Issues in Punishment

Please note: this is archived course information from 2020 for CRIM 202.


This course is designed to introduce undergraduates to key contemporary issues in penology and punishment theory. Using a combination of readings, films, lectures and discussions, students will be familiarised with the core theories of punishment and asked to apply them when thinking about current controversies.

We will begin with an overview of punishment and a discussion of some of the fundamental theories of punishment. As the course continues, students will learn about a variety of topics (e.g., the shift from corporal to carceral punishments, the circular history of the prison, the decline of the death penalty and the emergence of the “new penology” of risk management).

The course employs an international, comparative approach: while a great deal of penological research originates in the US, students will also be exposed to materials from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, England and elsewhere, and expected to relate them to each other. 

View the course syllabus

Availability 2020

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Dr James Oleson


A course reader will be made available if required


Coursework + exam


CRIM 202: 15 points


30 points from MĀORI 130, PHIL 103, 104, POLITICS 109, SOCIOL 100, 101, 103