JST203 Punishment and the State (8)

This subject focuses on the theory and practice of punishment with particular focus on the different ways that punishment has historically been understood, justified and implemented. An understanding of punishment as a social institution, through recognition of the relationship between formal forms of punishment and the mechanisms of social control embedded within everyday social practices, is fundamental to this subject. Different perspectives on punishment, and the implications of these, are explored, with a view to applying these to a critique of punishment, the use of imprisonment, and non- custodial 'alternatives'. Consideration of debates associated with issues of managerialism and privatisation, and the increasing emphasis on risk and actuarialism in custodial and community punishments, ensures a contemporary focus. Gender, including the gendered nature of punishment and concepts of race which include the involvement and impacts upon Indigenous Australians are key concerns running throughout the subject.


Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Bathurst Campus
Port Macquarie Campus
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: JST203. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have completed 24285 Punishment and the State

Assumed Knowledge

Any first level JST subject.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to describe the development of the State's use of punishment and correction and of the central place of the prison in this process;
  • be able to explain how critiques and challenges have contributed to the reconceptualisation of orthodox understandings of punishment;
  • be able to describe the ways in which disciplinary power is exercised, beyond the confines of the criminal justice system;
  • be able to analyse the processes of punishment, including imprisonment and community sanctions, and their intended and unintended consequences;
  • be able to describe and discuss the ways in which forms of punishment impact deferentially on groups in society with emphasis on Indigenous Australians within the various systems;
  • be able to articulate their understanding clearly and cogently;
  • be able to use the work of major theorists and authors to inform their understanding; and
  • be able to demonstrate a growing professional awareness by being professional in all communications and conduct with academic staff and other students, and through presentation of assignments.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • History of punishment
  • Theoretical perspectives
  • Goals and strategies of punishment
  • Sociological perspectives on punishment
  • Critiques of punishment
  • Discipline and punish
  • Foucault
  • Political economies of punishment
  • Penology from 'old to new' penal equivalents
  • Critical issues in punishment: race and gender
  • Students will learn about Indigenous Australians


For further information about courses and subjects outlined in the CSU handbook please contact:

Current students

Future students

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2019. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.