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Correctional Practice and Policy

Course Code: CRIM 3375
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar, Hybrid
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines contemporary issues in correctional practice and policy. Potential topics of discussion include: conditions of confinement, violence in institutions, prison culture, ethics and critique of correctional practice, the influence of correctional policy, the relationship between community and corrections, the goals of correctional institutions, and future challenges in correctional practice and policy.

Course Content

1. Frameworks

  • Correctional Philosophies, Policies and Ethics
  • Punitive Philosophy, Practices and Critiques
  • Reform
2. The Purpose of Prisons 
  • Cultural and Political Context of Prisons
  • Historical Development of Prisons
  • Evaluation
3. Institutional Prison Violence 
  • Prevalence of Violence against and amongst Incarcerated People
  • Prison Subcultural Context of Violence
  • Riots
  • Violent Institutional Practices and Solitary Confinement
4. Families
  • Incarcerated Family Members
  • Prison Families
  • Children in Prison
  • Prison Visits
5. Conditions of Confinement and Characteristics of Prison Populations 
  • Working and Living in Prisons
  • Research in Prisons
  • Health and Wellness in Prisons
  • Indigenous Peoples in Prisons
  • Women's Prisons
  • Youth Detention
6. Release Process and Post Correctional Issues
  • Release Criteria
  • Risk and Danger Assessment
  • Recidivism
  • Parole Process and Hearings
  • Reintegration and Stigma
  • Employment and Community Connections
7. Efficacy of Treatment Policies
  • Theories, Technques and Pollcies of Correctional Treatment
  • Classification of Incarcerated People
8. Special Topics in Corrections
  • Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health and Well-Being
  • Sex Crimes
  • Protective Custody, Segregation and Solitary Confinement
  • Indigenous Peoples in Prison
  • Gender Issues in Prisons
9. Human and Legal Rights of Incarcerated Peoples
  • Protection of Rights
  • Correctional Responsibilites
  • Abolitionist and Activist Critiques
10. Emerging / Contemporary Correctional Issues
  • Ideological and Ethical Critiques
  • Aging Populations in Prison
  • Transgender Persons in Prison
  • Political Discourse and Punitive Rhetoric
  • Privatization, Radicalization, and Economic Inequality
  • Other Methods of Social Control

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: lectures, seminar presentations, audio visual materials including video, small group discussions, research projects and research papers.

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Evaluation structure may use some of the following methods:

  1. Short Answer Tests
  2. Exams
  3. Oral Presentation
  4. Research Project/Term Paper
  5. Class Participation

An example of one possible evaluation scheme would be:

Mid-Semester Exams (x2)   50%
Final Exam   20%
Research Paper   30%
Total  100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Discuss the social and political context that shape correctional policy and practice.  
  2. Discuss the problem of reform in corrections in relation to standards of practice versus the real world of corrections.
  3. Identify the complexity of ethical decisions in correctional practice.
  4. Address issues of mental and physical health of incarcerated people, racialization, gender, subcultural group membership, and characteristics of vulnerable populations in prison.
  5. Explain the meaning of treatment in a correctional setting, current treatment techniques and major issues with treatment in custody. 
  6. Discuss the limitations of predictive judgments regarding dangerous behavior, and the impact of such judgments on correctional practice.
  7. Analyze contemporary problems surrounding the management of correctional facilities as it relates to institutional violence and abuse, solitary confinement, and workplace safety.
  8. Critically analyze community corrections, surveying the philosophy and operation of traditional and innovative probation and parole programs, including recent developments in community corrections, such as intermediate sanctions and drug courts. 
  9. Explain the legal rights and obligations of the offender and the State along with methods of enforcing rights and the responsibilities of corrections under law (constitutional, statutory, and regulatory provisions).
  10. Critically analyze the emerging paradigms that may influence the future of corrections.  
  11. Discuss contemporary challenges in correctional practice and policy, including budgets and privatization, occupational cultures, media coverage, abolitionist critiques and prison activism, and community engagement.

course prerequisites

CRIM 1170

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.