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Campus offering

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10cp from 200-level units in Criminology 

Unit rationale, description and aim

This is a capstone unit in the Criminology major. In order to operate in advocacy and correctional service roles, criminologists require knowledge and skills related to best practice strategies for rehabilitation.  

This unit explores key issues relating to the rehabilitation of various offending populations with a particular focus on concepts such as desistance, rehabilitation and social restoration. Students will explore principles of offender assessment and treatment, as well as examining methods of rehabilitation and models of specific rehabilitation programs in institutional and community settings.  

The aim of this unit is to allow students to critically analyse the concept and process of rehabilitation in terms of ethical, theoretical and practical concerns. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Explain principles of effective offender rehabilitation (GA1, GA4, GA9) 

LO2 - Describe and evaluate contemporary approaches to offender rehabilitation (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Critically analyse issues of rehabilitation in diverse offending populations (GA1, GA8) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Offender rehabilitation and recidivism, including how people stop offending (desistance) 
  • Examination of offender behaviour 
  • Models of offender rehabilitation 
  • Issues of rehabilitation in a variety of offending populations, for example 
  • young people 
  • adults 
  • sexual offenders 
  • offenders with substance abuse problems 
  • Evidence based approaches of offender rehabilitation 
  • Rehabilitation in institutional and community contexts 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content. Students will undertake practical learning and assessments that focus on real-world problems and challenges with the goal of developing their problem solving, decision making and investigative skills with regard to best-practice models in the rehabilitation of offenders. 

This unit comprises 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours becomes private study. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The practical assessments have been designed to contribute to high quality student learning by both helping students learn (assessment for learning), and by measuring explicit evidence of their learning (assessment of learning). Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The assessments in this unit encourage students to undertake practice-based learning to develop the skills required by professionals working with diverse offending populations. The schedule provides scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practise their skills and receive feedback. 

  1. Reading summary. Students will review an empirical article on offending from the weekly readings to develop their knowledge and apply their critical thinking skills. 
  2. Practice-based assessment. Students will respond to a case study by identifying offender behaviour and interventions. This practical task will allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the politics underpinning public policy, as well as their ability to assess and evaluate programmes, policies and practices pertaining to offender rehabilitation. 
  3. Exam. This final assessment provides a forum for recollection of major terms, concepts and information presented in the unit, as well as critical discussion of key issues pertaining to crime and criminal justice. The exam may be administered as a central examination, school-based examination, take-home examination or other equivalent task. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1. Reading Summary 

This assessment develops knowledge around principles of rehabilitation. 



GA1, GA4, GA9

2. Practice-based assessment 

This assessment develops knowledge and skills in the evaluation of different approaches to offender rehabilitation. 


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8

3. Exam  

This assessment provides a forum for demonstrating learning in the unit. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Cunneen, C & Hoyle, C 2010Debating restorative justice, Hart Publishing, Oxford. 

Farrall, S 2016Rethinking what works with offenders, Willan Publishing. 

Graham, H & White, R 2015Innovative justice, Routledge, London. 

Kury, H, Redo, S & Shea, E  2016Women and children as victims and offenders: background, prevention, reintegration: suggestions for succeeding generations, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland.  

Prins, H 2016Offenders, deviants or patients? an introduction to clinical criminology, Routledge, London.  

Schaefer, L, Cullen, FT & Eck, JE 2016Environmental corrections: a new paradigm for supervising offenders in the community, Sage, Los Angeles. 

Taxman, FS & Pattavina, A 2013Simulation strategies to reduce recidivism: risk need responsivity (RNR) modeling for the criminal justice system, Springer, New York. 

Trotter, C 2015Working with involuntary clients: a guide to practice, 3rd edn, Routledge, New York 

Walklate, S 2018Handbook of victims and victimology, Routledge, New York. 

White, R & Graham, H 2010Working with offenders, Routledge, London. 

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