In the last weeks of this module, you will get the opportunity to listen to a number of practitioners from the criminal justice system and other related agencies. In the past these have included practitioners from the Benefit Fraud Agency, NACRO, Addaction, HM Prisons, Youth Offending Teams, Lincolnshire Probation Trust, The Big Bubble and Gelders Construction Company. These lecture slots are longer than the usual lecture times, so that you can have time to ask questions and meet the practitioners. It is important that you think about some useful questions to ask so as to make use of this valuable opportunity.
Even if you are not interested in working in any of the organisations that the practitioners represent, they are still a valuable resource to your career planning, as almost all professional organisations look for similar transferable skills and competances. It is also really interesting to consider how your criminological knowledge about the criminal justice system and related agencies compares with practitioners working in these organisations.
In terms of your discourse analysis you might like to look for the following things:
• What knowledge/expertise do you think each of the practitioners demonstrates that marks out the professionalism of their work? Think about jargon, procedures and working practices.• Are there obvious organisational cultures?• Dominant values and norms: what is the problem they seek to address?• How do they refer to their ‘service users’?• Is their work an example of ‘crime control’, ‘welfare’ or ‘justice’?• Managerialism and performance indicators: how do they define success?• Which agencies do they work with? Do they have the goals in common with other related organisations or are there possible contradictions?• Which criminological theories can you see underpinning the organisation?• Is the organisation an example of public service, private or voluntary sector. How might this affect their working?• Equal opportunities/gender/race/class issues?