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This unit is designed to introduce students to the issues and processes associated with working with offenders, particularly those in prisons or under the supervision of community corrections. The unit explores issues pertaining directly to how best to work with a wide variety of people with offending histories.

Topics to be covered include duty of care, 'special populations' of prisoners, risk management and difficult situations, safety and security, working with involuntary clients, inter-agency collaboration, prison culture, assessment tools, mental illness and drug use, restorative justice, victim interests, children and families of prisoners, worker self-care and professional report writing. The unit also examines how and why people stop offending and change (desistance from crime). International examples of innovation are showcased from key jurisdictions such as England and Wales, Scotland, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand.

The unit is intended to be relevant and familiar for those already working in the field, in prison and in the community, as well as to introduce contemporary principles and practices to those wishing to do so in the future. Engaging presentations from experienced guest speakers who are senior practitioners in the field are one of the popular features of this unit.

Summary 2021

Unit name Working With Offenders
Unit code HGA332
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Social Sciences
Discipline Sociology and Criminology

Dr. Vicky Nagy

Level Advanced
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No



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About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify, summarise and analyse critical features of the major crime types (e.g., property crime, violent crimes etc.) and the potential costs and harms associated with these.
  2. Select and use appropriate language and key terms commonly employed in the criminal justice system, communicating your ideas in written and verbal form, with the ability to structure and express your ideas for both academic and professional audiences.
  3. Analyse major criminological offender rehabilitation models (e.g. the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model; Good Lives Model), approaches (e.g. therapeutic jurisprudence, restorative justice) and concepts (e.g. criminogenic risk, desistance, social capital, engagement), and be able to apply them in practice scenarios.
  4. Evaluate and appraise complex links that can exist between criminal offending and issues of health, welfare and social inequalities (e.g. poverty, homelessness, substance misuse, mental illness).
  5. Describe and critically evaluate the work contexts and institutional dynamics of the courts, community corrections, prisons and community sector organisations, and how these may shape offender-worker relationships.
  6. Produce a cohesive account of key theorists and scholarly literature on offender rehabilitation as a body of knowledge.




25 points at introductory level in any discipline in any faculty

Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:


Teaching Pattern

On Campus (Hobart):
Weekly lecture (1.5 hour)
Weekly workshop (1.5 hour)

Off Campus:
Weekly lecture, recorded (1.5 hour)
Weekly online workshop (1.5 hour)


Task 1: In-class/online reflective exercises, 500 words (5%)

Task 2: Short answer assignment,, 1500 words (40%)

Task 3: Major essay, 3000 words (45%)

Task 4: Tutorial participation/other participation (10%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



White, R & Graham, H. 2013. Working with Offenders: A guide to concepts and practices, Willan Publishing. https://www.coop.com.au/working-with-offenders/9781843927938


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