By the end of this module you should be able to:
- describe the meaning, nature and scope of criminology and
- demonstrate an ability to use and interpret recorded crime
statistics and victimisation surveys
- state the contributions of gender, age, race and nation state
to criminal activity
- outline the key concepts of the major theories of
- describe how criminal behaviour alters across the lifespan
- understand and describe the predictive factors for criminal
- demonstrate a firm understanding of the association between
mental disorder and violent offending
- describe the pathway of an individual from point of arrest
through the criminal justice system, considering the role for
psychiatrists at each point.
Criminology is an interdisciplinary academic
field devoted to the scientific study of crime. Penology is the
scientific study of the methods and consequences of the punishment
of crime. In the exam syllabus for MRCPsych, criminology and
penology are items within the social science and socio-cultural
The relationship between crime and mental
illness is well established, but it is also complex and frequently
misunderstood, as we shall explore in detail in this module. There
is also a disproportionate level of mental illness and psychiatric
vulnerability within the prison system, and prisons are familiar
working environments for the psychiatrist. It is thus essential
that all psychiatrists have a good basic understanding of the
principles of criminology and penology. Indeed, psychiatrists have
an important role to play in the continuing development of the
criminal justice system.
We hope this module will provide an
interesting and accessible introduction to the fascinating
disciplines of criminology and penology.
We recommend that you make some notes as you work through
The 'TrOn Notebook' facility can be accessed
throughout the module (allowing you to make notes on each page),
and these notes will be saved in your personal area 'My TrOn', for
future reference. However, you will not be able to print these
notes as one single document.
If you would prefer to make your notes in a
separate document you may wish to download the 'learning notes'
below. This downloadable Word document will allow you to keep a
personalised record of your learning, which you can then save
and/or print for future reference.
Download the learning notes document for this module