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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 97 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

    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

    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

    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

    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
    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

    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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Excellent course! extremely complete and easy to follow, even for a foreign student. I learn a lot and gave me the opportunity to reflect o these matters. Very enjoyable resources as well and lots of links and references to expand the knowledge provided by the course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course has given me a better understanding of prison life. I have researched much more as a result of the coursework than I expected. It is an excellent learning experience.
  • Anonymous
    This course has been great on bringing extreme awareness and information about the incarceration system, especially in the UK. The graphic contributions and extra links to related material have been excellent thus, deepening the insight into the experiences...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I've completed a lot of Futurelearn courses but I'm afraid this one was not for me. I knew nothing about the subject and I was surprised to find so many 'Exercise' sections in the first few modules. Due to my lack of prior knowledge, I found it difficult...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Overall a very good course with lots of positives: informative, thought-provoking and with a good variety of learning strategies. I particularly liked having input from people with experience of incarceration, sentencing etc. It’s an area I’m fairly familiar...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Overall a very good course with a lot of positives: informative, thought-provoking and with a good vvariety of learning strategies. I particularly liked having input from people who were experts by experience. It's an area with which I'm fairly familiar...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course was extremely interesting and informative. Working alongside others and reading their views and feedback was inspiring (it is great to be able to nod at and agree with what you are reading). It encouraged me to work through the different...
  • 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
    I would recommend this course to all individuals who curiosity of how inside the prison institution are run and who want to remove that veil of ignorance. This course will intrigue, individuals, who want to broadening their understanding about custodial...
  • 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
    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
    The course has given me a much better understanding of the options open to the courts in the sentencing of prisoners, and of the way non custodial sentences work to benefit the offender and potentially reduce the risk of future offending.

    My only concern was that although the focus of the course was on the offender and rehabilitation, there was little mention of the victims of crime outside of the three real case scenarios; however I did enjoy the course and I would recommend it to anyone, particularly those like myself who worked within HMPS and have a vested interest in the promotion of custodial sentencing!
  • Anonymous
    I found the course extremely interesting and very well presented. The interviews with academics from Leeds and other experts were excellent and very insightful into the real nature of incarceration as a punishment. It was not the fault of the organisers that both of the reports that I was invited to peer-review were totally irrelevant and had obviously been copied and pasted from some rubbish found on line. My free time on the course ran out before my own report was peer-reviewed.

    Nevertheless, I gained an enormous amount from this 2-week course and I'm very grateful to the organisers.

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