Whilst policing and punishment have been features of human societies for millennia, it is only comparatively recently that these functions have been carried out by a formal 'police force' and recognizable (largely) state-operated prison service. This module explores both the activities of policing and punishment in general and the formal agencies on which these tasks are bestowed.

In doing so it situates the problems of policing and punishment in philosophical, social and contemporary contexts. Questions of how societies are policed and offenders are punished lie at the heart of historical inquiry, moral philosophy, social theory and political practice. This course will introduce students to the controversies and dilemmas that surround policing and punishment as criminal justice institutions. It will show how these institutions interact with strategies of power, socio-economic structures and cultural sensibilities as well as examining the problems faced daily in contemporary penal systems. Moreover, it will explore the extension of policing and punishment beyond the formal criminal justice system by examining the operation of extra-judicial control in society.