LLM Sentencing: Prison Studies

Student outside on the Birmingham CampusModule leader: Dr Bharat Malkani

Module description:

This module explores the social, political, theoretical and legal issues raised in the imprisonment of offenders. It is concerned with the State’s power to punish and how that power is manifested in the use of imprisonment and the creation of the prison ‘experience’. Also, it evaluates recent trends in imprisonment and how penal policy has stimulated a particular punitive approach to imprisonment. 

Seminar topics:

  • The Penal Landscape
  • The Aims of Imprisonment: Explaining and Evaluating the Use of Imprisonment
  • Trends in Penal Practice: Prison Privatisation, Hyper-Incarceration and the Rise of ‘Supermax’
  • ‘Dangerousness’ and Public Protection Measures
  • Doing Time: The Experience of Imprisonment
  •  Imprisonment and Human Rights I (ECHR Articles 2 and 3)
  • Imprisonment and Human Rights II (ECHR Articles 5, 6 and 8)
  • Vulnerable Prisoners and Imprisonment (Elderly, Women and Children)
  • Early Release Mechanisms, Parole and Community Supervision
  • Life Imprisonment and Life without Parole

Methods of assessment

Modules on the LLM programmes will be assessed in one of the following ways. As this website is set up in advance, it is not possible to specify which method of assessment will be implemented for each module.


  • One 6000 word essay


  • One 3-hour written examination

If you'd like to find out how a module will be assessed in the forthcoming academic year please contact the LLM Programmes Administrator at Law-LLM@contacts.bham.ac.uk.



Modules and Courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year, for instance because a member of staff is on study leave or too few students opt for it. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.