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University of Leeds

Incarceration: Are Prisons a Suitable Punishment?

University of Leeds via FutureLearn

Overview

Explore the ethics of imprisonment and identify prison alternatives

England and Wales have the highest incarceration rate in Western Europe. Almost a quarter of these prisoners are held in overcrowded prisons. On this course, you will take a look inside the prisons of England and Wales.

You will consider the role of imprisonment as a form of punishment, and hear from ex-prisoners about their experience of being incarcerated. Through case studies, you will explore the challenges faced by the current prison system. You will identify alternative methods of punishment and rehabilitation, and learn about the debates that exist within the criminal justice system.

This course is for anyone looking to investigate whether prisons are a suitable punishment for offenders.

The course will be useful for professionals such as social workers, probation officers, and anyone that supports prisoners.

This course is also useful for learners interested in studying criminology or related disciplines at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Taught by

Richard Peake

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Reviews

4.7 rating, based on 107 reviews

Start your review of Incarceration: Are Prisons a Suitable Punishment?

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I really enjoyed the course. Particularly the amount of videos and interactive tasks (such as polls and places to post opinions) that there were to complete as it wasn't just reading articles, which made it very engaging. It also provided many insightful...
  • Anonymous
    This course was pleasingly in-depth for an introduction and I particularly appreciated the extra learning resources and references provided for further reading.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I speak on prison and gang culture in schools so was already aware of some of this framework before starting, but it truly opened my eyes and taught me a lot. A really interesting and varied course. I particularly like the use of visuals and interactive...
  • Anonymous
    Very well structured and interesting course. We looked at theories behind why we punish; we explored the various range of punishment alternatives from Prison such as non custodial sanctions and their effects long term. We also looked at and reflected...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I have just finished this course and felt the need to review it to not only express my gratitude but also recommend it to anyone on the fence. Having studied and really enjoyed the topic of incarceration and punishment in an A-Level Sociology module,...
  • Anonymous
    This course covers material which many people may believe they are familiar with through media reports, documentaries and the news. This course breaks down familiar preconceptions, and explains what is legal, possible and ethical, and explains the barriers to the achievement of goals within the prison system. It also looks in detail at alternatives to prison, examining their aims, applicability and outcomes. All this is done through a mixture of articles, exercises and quizzes, all of which are engaging and interesting. This is a very accessible and worthwhile course, which I enjoyed and am happy to recommend.
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed this course. Although it took a lot longer than two weeks for me to complete - I thought certain steps were very long and could be separated a little more to make them more manageable. I particularly enjoyed the case studies and also...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I have worked in prison for over 15 years and have a good understanding of what goes on behind the gates. I was recommended this course by a colleague and it did not disappoint. Richard's discussions with various people who have great knowledge and experience...
  • Anonymous
    I am a magistrate and have thoroughly enjoyed the course, though I didn't take part fully by writing papers or discussions with other learners. I thought the format of the course was excellent and that Richard Peake was very good at interviewing people so that the videos were always interesting and ot-the-point. Polls, exercises and quizzes were relevant and useful. This is one of the very best of the Future Learn courses.
  • Anonymous
    I would highly recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in topics revolving sociology or criminology. It has a lot of good information, videos and includes a wide range interactive quizzes and polls. It's easy to understand and is very inclusive in who is able to do it. I would say that if you're unsure on whether or not to do this course, to just go for it.
  • Anonymous
    A very absorbing and informative course

    I really enjoyed the course content and learned valuable information about our judicial and sentencing procedures. I was not aware of the complexities involved, but I am now better informed and interested in the subjects covered.

    I would recommend this course to anyone interested in the legal system in England and Wales.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I loved completing this course. I have a real interest in Criminology but also learning in general. I think this course I brilliant for absolutely anyone who has an interest in this topic. It also teaches you a great deal on the way the justice system works and on the benefits of non-custodial sentences (I didn’t know what that meant before starting the course :/!!) It was very interesting and my opinions have changed from when I started and to when I finished. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars was because I wanted to take part in the assessment but it wasn’t available because of the need to pay or upgrade and as I’m only a student I couldn’t afford it. But other than that it was brilliant, thank you.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I am an Official Prison Visitor currently visiting an offender in the high security estate in the north of England. This has been an interesting overview of the criminal justice system, and I have enjoyed both the video interviews and supportive in-depth reading. There has been a huge amount of supplementary reading available making the task of covering everything in the two weeks a fair challenge. Just a shame now, that with the current coronavirus lockdown, and suspension of visiting, in at least my prison, I am unable to see my guy and "chew the fat" about it - which he is willing to do. Thanks to all for the preparation of this material for interested participants.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    In my time I have been a volunteer prison visitor for the Probation Service, a Jobcentre worker and a careers adviser. The first week unfortunately taught me that prison conditions have not really improved in the past 40 years and my original view that it should be avoided where possible still holds.
    The second week was enjoyable because it focussed on alternatives to prison. Working in Jobcentres and careers offices have shown me just how hard it is for ex-offenders to get a break.

    I thought the course was well-constructed and involved a good mix of videos, exercises and articles. I do have a bit of prior knowledge and I think this course added to my perspective,
  • Anonymous
    Firstly i want to thank to Richard Peake for let me join this course even though i can't afford the upgrade. I'm from Argentina and dollars aren't only limited if not very expensive.

    I was keen on this course because it is a topic which really worry me as i would love to have the chance to work on this topic (i have recently graduate in Law) About the couse i'm enjoying so much because i have the chance to talk with some of my mates and learn about the conditions of imprisonment in other countries also i found a lot of very interesting information and possible solutions. I would like to have a space in each weekor at the end to make questions to the lead educator.
  • Anonymous
    This really was thought provoking and I am grateful it was made available. I found the interviews with the former prisoners particularly interesting, and these particularly challenged my understanding of the rehabilitation of offenders. I am certainly reading crime reports in my local paper in a different way now.
  • Anonymous
    I had little knowledge and no personal experience of prisons before starting this course. I now have grasp of the main issues relating to the ethics, practices and community expectations of the legal and prison system, many of them common to all cultures and even in historical times. I would have liked the course to focus more on the people who work in prisons, their motivation, training, work experience, rewards and challenges and how they are perceived by family, friends and the community generally. What I have gleaned from this course Is that it is the people, who interact with offenders, who ultimately determine the effectiveness and humanity of the system.

    Tom Dobinson
  • Anonymous
    I did not originally understand how the justice system works for sentencing offenders. It was eye-opening showcasing the options that magistrates can apply to offenders. Listening to prisoners discuss their side of their experiences was great. I was intimidated with the course exercises but I completed them (or most) and I am pleased that I did and that the answers seemed ok. Thank you for such a very interesting subject.
  • Anonymous
    This course is so insightful. There are so many aspects to the justice system we are not aware of. It really helps you think about the different sentences available to magistrates and judges, which I wasn't aware of. It also helps you to consider the offender's situation and this is done by discussions on past offending, someone's background, and someone's (lack of) options provided in their lives.
  • Anonymous
    There was an abundance of material provided in this course and many interesting viewpoints were examined. I found the lack of student comments a bit disconcerting however the interactive components were useful for engagement. It's a challenging topic and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to explore it in such an interesting and informative course.

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