Penology is the study of punishment, in prison and in the community. Students are encouraged to think critically about the multiple purposes and debatable effectiveness of our contemporary modes of punishment, and to understand why this 'end product' of the criminal justice system has become, in recent decades, such a politically contested issue. Questions which CRIM3001 poses include: What is it society hopes to achieve when it punishes offenders? If the answer seems obvious, why do some theorists argue punishment has 'hidden functions' and why do approaches to punishment vary between countries? Why does, for example, the United States continue to
use the death penalty, while Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have pioneered an approach known as restorative justice? Is either method more successful, in deterring or rehabilitating offenders, than our reliance on prison and probation? What is it like to go to, and spend years living in, prison? Is a term of imprisonment, or should it be, primarily a painful or positive experience? Do some categories of prisoners - women, for example, or sexual offenders - experience prison differently, and if so, does it matter? How does one successfully resettle in the community after a lengthy custodial sentence?