Course Title: Apply psychological concepts and principles within justice environments

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

Course Code: JUST5715

Course Title: Apply psychological concepts and principles within justice environments

School: 365T Global, Urban and Social Studies

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6124 - Advanced Diploma of Justice

Course Contact: Irene Pagliarella, Program Manager

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4581

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Sandra Reitano

Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Successful completion of, or demonstrated equivalence to, the following units of competency:

VU20861 Apply criminal law within justice environments
VU20862 Work with family violence contexts within justice environments
VU20863 Work with culturally diverse clients within justice environments
VU20864 Work with conflict resolution and mediation processes within justice environments
VU20865 Apply management and leadership within justice environments

And ONE of the following electives:

LGACOM406A Investigate alleged breaches of legislation and prepare documentation
CHCAOD402B Work effectively in the alcohol and other drugs sector

Course Description

In this course you will develop the skills and knowledge required to identify and address psychological issues related to offenders and victims, within the criminal justice contexts, through recognition and immediate response of counselling and support, to long‐term response through referral and management of treatment programs.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20856 Apply psychological concepts and principles within justice environments


1. Research major social and psychological theories that explain offending behaviour

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Core concepts of personality theories are researched and analysed
1.2 Core concepts of human development theories are researched and critically analysed
1.3 Contemporary psychological theories and discourse that explain offending behaviour are examined for application to working with clients in justice contexts


2. Apply counselling strategies to managing offenders in justice contexts

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Key stages in counselling process are identified
2.2 Core concepts of counselling theories and methodologies are examined and strategies developed to address offending behaviour
2.3 Strategies for working with involuntary clients are explored
2.4 Parameters of own role in applying counselling strategies, informed by psychological theory, are identified in consultation with relevant people
2.5 Counselling strategies for responding to immediate needs of offenders are determined and applied in consultation with relevant people and according to organisational and legislative requirements


3. Develop, monitor and review treatment plan

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Key criminogenic and non-criminogenic factors and behaviours prevalent in the offender population are critically examined to inform development of treatment plan
3.2 Needs of specialised groups are delineated and incorporated into treatment plan
3.3 Available treatment programs and referral options for both custodial and non-custodial offenders are investigated and evaluated for inclusion in treatment plan
3.4 Treatment plan is monitored and outcomes reviewed to inform future practice

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, you will be able to:
• Develop and implement counselling strategies to address offender needs across a range of justice contexts
• Develop, monitor and review an offender treatment plan designed to address offender issues, assist with rehabilitation, and reduce probability of recidivism
• Provide evidence of knowledge of current theories, approaches, debates and practice developments on the application of psychological concepts and principles to justice contexts
• Provide evidence of knowledge of relevant legislative and statutory requirements

Details of Learning Activities

You will participate in a variety of learning activities. They include the following:

In class activities:
• Role plays
• Observations
• Lectures
• Presentations
• Class discussions
• Group work
• Oral and written questioning
• In class quiz/knowledge-based tests/questionnaires

Out of class activities:
• Readings
• Case studies
• Observations


Teaching Schedule

Week One:
• Introduction including review of course guide and assessments.
• In class activity
• Group Rules and Expectations
Week Two:
• Introduction to Personality Theories
• In class activity
Week Three:
• Personality Theories
• Formative Assessment Task - Debate regarding factors that influence, shape and/or determine personality development
Week Four:
• Human Development theories
• In class activity
Week Five:
• Major psychological theories
• Forensic Psychology
Week Six:
• Formative Assessment Task – Progressive Knowledge Test.
• Introduction to Counselling
Week Seven:
• Key stages of Counselling Process
• Counselling Theories and methodologies
• In class activity

Week Eight:
Semester BREAK

Week Nine:
• Group Oral Presentation Preparation Week
• Formative Assessment Task – Progressive Knowledge Test
Week Ten:
• Group Oral Presentations
Week Eleven:
• Motivational Interviewing
• Conflict Resolution methodologies
• Voluntary vs Involuntary Clients
• In class activity
Week Twelve:
• Motivational interviewing
• Counselling strategies (guidelines and protocols, engagement, micro skills, goals, boundaries)
• Formative Assessment Task – Counselling skills
Week Thirteen:
• Criminogenic factors related to offending behaviour
• Non criminogenic factors
• Treatment Plans
Week Fourteen:
• Specialised client groups; Sex Offenders
• Specialised client groups; Violent offenders
• Specialised client groups; Female offenders
Week Fifteen:
• Specialised client groups; Adolescent offenders
• Specialised client groups; Dual Diagnosis
• Specialised client groups; CALD offenders
Week Sixteen:
• Treatment Plan Due
Week Seventeen:
• Debriefing and Self care Skills
• Review of course
Week Eighteen:
• Exam

*The teaching schedule outlined above is subject to change depending on your assimilation of knowledge and skills of the subject matter, and on changes to legislation as well as unforeseen circumstances.
Attendance in this VET Justice Course is to help you develop a self-directed, professional attitude and to maximize your educational vocational opportunities and practical skills. Regular class attendance provides fundamental educational value and offers the most effective means for you to gain knowledge and skills of the concepts of the justice environment. Lack of regular attendance and participation may compromise your performance in the course and achieving the final outcome.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed text for this course. All required readings and case studies will be available either:
• Via My RMIT/Studies Blackboard
• Handed out in class as a hard copy
• Via the internet/assigned website
• Accessible via the RMIT Library


Other recommended reading:

• Barlow, D. (2007). Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders (4th Edition).New York: Guildford Press.
• Corsini, R.J., & Wedding, D. (2010). Current Psychotherapies. Belmont, CA:Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.
• Davison, G., Neale, J., & Kring, A. (2009). Abnormal Psychology (11th Edition).USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
• Egan, G. (2006). The Skilled Helper: A Problem-Management and Opportunity-Development Approach to Helping (8th Edition). Pacific Grove, CA:BrooksCole/Thomson Learning.
• Jongsma, A., & Peterson, M. (2006). The Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment Planner (4th Edition). Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
• Powell. T. (2000). The Mental Health Handbook (2nd Edition). Oxon: Winslow Press.    

Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessments may incorporate a variety of methods including role plays, observations, case studies, lectures, tutorials, class discussion, reports, group/individual training workshops, audio-visual presentations, and interaction with individuals and/or groups within the forensic mental health sector.



Assessment Type

Word limit or equivalent

Assessment (Formative)

Range of in-class formative assessments including practice tests and in class presentation


Assessment One


Video role play and self critique essay

1200 words

Assessment Two


Case study and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Treatment Plan

1500-2000 words

Assessment Three

















If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers. 

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online:;ID=c15i3ciaq8ca

Assessment Tasks

There are 3 graded assessment tasks for this unit, in addition to active participation in class discussions and formative assessments.

1. Group Presentation (30%)
A group presentation in which participants will receive an individual grade and collective grade for their role in the presentation. The presentation will be an evaluation of a selected offender treatment program within the justice system. A written submission (powerpoint presentation) is to accompany the presentation and must be submitted prior to the presentation.

2. Treatment Plan for Complex Client (45%)
A 2000 word treatment plan on a complex client will need to be presented. The development of the treatment plan will need to be informed by an understanding of psychological approaches to human behaviour, life stage development, criminogenic factors, counselling options, services and resources available to complex clients. The Plan must be presented as a report, supported by a minimum of 6 academic resources.

A detailed outline of the assessment, marking criteria and submission requirements will be handed out in the first week of the course, as well as posted on Blackboard.

3. Exam (35%)
A closed book exam will be conducted in the final class. The exam will run for 2 hours and will be a mixture of various questions based on the material covered throughout the semester. Assesses all learning outcomes.

Formative Tasks – A range of tests, written and verbal tasks will be set at Week 6, 10, 12 and must be completed by ALL students.

ALL the above assessment tasks, including progressive knowledge tests and skills presentation are to be satisfactorily completed to achieve a graded result in this subject.

Assessment Matrix

The assessments have been designed to cover all Learning Outcomes and will be graded in accordance with RMIT’s Mark Table which is as follows:

CHD=Competent with High Distinction
CDI=Competent with Distinction
CC=Competent with Credit
CAG=Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC=Not Yet Competent
DNS=Did not Submit for Assessment

Grades which apply to course delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment (not-graded)

CA=Competency Achieved
NYC=Not Yet Competent
DNS=Did Not Submit For Assessment

Other Information

All written work must adhere to the following criteria:
1. Written reports, research projects or essays are to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and familiarity with the prescribed or negotiated topics
2. It is expected that all submitted work will be well written, with clear and consistent grammar, expression and punctuation. It must be well structured and cogently address the issues raised in the chosen topic in a logical, ordered and organised manner
3. The concepts must be well defined and demonstrate a critical analysis of the chosen topic
4. Written submissions must demonstrate appropriate preparation, reading and research
5. In-text references must follow the APA style of referencing. In addition, you must provide a bibliography with correct and comprehensive details in relation to texts, articles, research reports and other sources that you have used
6. Double or 1.5 spacing and a font size of 10-12 must be used in either Arial or Times Roman. Do not submit double paged assessments.

In accordance with RMIT policy, you may apply for an extension where there have been unexpected or extenuating circumstances, e.g.
• Hospital admission, serious injury, severe asthma, severe anxiety or depression. This does not include minor illness such as a cold, period pain or hay fever.
• Loss or bereavement – e.g. death of a close family member, family/relationship breakdown.
• Hardship/trauma – e.g. victim of crime, sudden loss of income or employment, severe disruption to domestic arrangements.
You must keep a copy of their assessment until the graded submission has been returned or marks have been posted.

All email communications will be sent to your RMIT student email address.

Applying for an Extension
Extension of time for assessment tasks may be granted where circumstances beyond your control prevent submission by the published due date. An application for extension of time must be lodged with your tutor or the course coordinator as early as possible, and no later than one working day before the due date for submission.
You can apply for extension using the University’s Extension Application Form – – or by emailing your course coordinator or tutor directly.
An extension of up to seven calendar days may be granted if good reason can be demonstrated. Include supporting evidence (such as medical certificates) with your application.
Extensions beyond seven calendar days cannot be granted by course coordinators, tutors or the School. To apply for an extension of time greater than seven calendar days you must lodge an application for Special Consideration.

Applying for Special Consideration
If you are seeking an extension of more than seven calendar days (from the original due date) you must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form, preferably prior to, but no later than two working days after the official due date. Late applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances. For information about Special Consideration and how to apply, see:

Penalties for Late Submission
If you have not been granted an extension or special consideration, late submission will be penalised as follows:
Assessment tasks submitted after the due date of submission shall receive a penalty of five per cent of the grades available for that assessment per day for each working day late.
No assessment task shall be accepted more than three weeks after the due date.

Assessment Appeals
If you believe your assessment result or final result is wrong please contact the course coordinator and provide the reason why you think your result is incorrect. Valid reasons for seeking a review of results include:
• You believe an error has occurred in the calculation of the grade; or,

• You believe the assessment did not comply with criteria published in the Course Guide; or,

• You believe the assessment did not comply with University Policies on Assessment (i.e. an error in process has occurred).

• Full details of the procedure (including appeals procedure) can be located at this RMIT site:

Academic Integrity
Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship through respecting the work of others whilst having the freedom to build new insights, new knowledge and ideas. RMIT University upholds the values of academic integrity as fundamental to the scholarship undertaken by all members of its community. Whenever you refer to another person’s research or ideas (either by directly quoting or paraphrasing them) you must acknowledge your source.
If you are even in doubt about how to properly cite a reference, consult your lecturer or the academic integrity website:
The RMIT library provides tools to assist with your referencing

Plagiarism and Collusion
Plagiarism and collusion constitute extremely serious academic misconduct, and are forms of cheating. You are reminded that cheating, whether by fabrication, falsification of data, or plagiarism, is an offence subject to University disciplinary procedures. Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data, and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited. Plagiarism is not acceptable.
Examples of plagiarism include:
• Copying sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from one or more sources, whether published or unpublished, which could include but is not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc. without proper citation;
• Closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation;
• Piecing together text from one or more sources and adding only linking sentences;
• Copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source;
• Copying designs or works of art and submitting them as your original work;
• Copying a whole or any part of another student’s work; and
• Submitting work as your own that someone else has done for you.
• Enabling Plagiarism: the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work is also an offence.
For further information, please see the RMIT Plagiarism Policy –;ID=sg4yfqzod48g1 – and the RMIT Student Discipline Statute and Regulations -;ID=11jgnnjgg70y

Plagiarism Software
The originality verification software Turnitin may be used in this course. For details, see:

Course Overview: Access Course Overview