Course Title: Apply Psychological Concepts and Principles within a Justice Environment

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: MEDS5038

Course Title: Apply Psychological Concepts and Principles within a Justice Environment

School: 365T Global Studies, Soc Sci & Plng

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6077 - Advanced Diploma of Justice

Course Contact : Melissa Brown

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 99258371

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Sandra Reitano

Nominal Hours: 68

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

No pre-requisite courses but a sound knowledge of APA referencing is needed.

Course Description

This course covers the knowledge and skills required to analyse the psychotherapies relevant to identify and address issues related to offenders and victims within the criminal justice system. It also includes the skills and knowledge required to:

  • implement counselling strategies and processes
  • evaluate psychological disorders prevalent amongst the offender population, and rehabilitate and divert the client group from re-offending.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBQU380 Apply Psychological Concepts and Principles within a Justice Environment


1. Analyse the psychotherapies most relevant to treating offending behaviour in the criminal justice environment.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Core concepts of the psychotherapies are examined.
1.2 An analysis of psychotherapies is conducted to distinguish between complimentary and conflicting concepts.
1.3 Appropriate psychotherapies are applied for the treatment of non-psychotic disorders.
1.4 Cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy strategies are developed to deal with offending behaviour.


2. Investigate and apply counselling practices and processes in the criminal justice environment.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 An analysis is undertaken to identify variables leading to a value conflict in working with clients, and strategies are developed to address identified conflicts.
2.2 Key stages of the counselling process are identified.
2.3 Specific counselling tools are applied to conduct a counseling session.
2.4 Counselling case note recording system is implemented.
2.5 Counselling tools to address offending behaviour and in treating non-psychotic disorders, are investigated.


3. Analyse psychological disorders prevalent amongst offenders in Victoria.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Identified characteristics of abnormal behaviour are examined.
3.2 The implications of the law on the definitions of abnormal behaviour are investigated.
3.3 An analysis is conducted to differentiate between the historical and contemporary understanding of the causes and treatment of abnormal behaviour.
3.4 Factors associated with the cause of mental illness with particular reference to the offender population are analysed.
3.5 Psychological disorders most prevalent amongst the juvenile and adult offender population in Victoria are examined.


4. Review assessment tools and treatment options for forensic clients in Victoria.

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Psychological and psycho-educational assessment tools are investigated and applied to identify client problems and facilitate change.
4.2 Current assessment tools used in the criminal justice system to address offending behaviours within Victoria are examined.
4.3 Impact of variables on assessment outcomes is analysed.
4.4 Key components of a treatment plan are identified.
4.5 A treatment plan is developed to address a non-psychotic illness.
4.6 Treatment programs available for forensic clients are investigated, and a resource folder is developed.


5. Analyse psychological principles relevant to specialized groups within the criminal justice environment.

Performance Criteria:

5.1 The psychological principles and practices most relevant in responding to the needs of specialized groups are examined.
5.2 Treatment programs available for the specialized group are investigated.
5.3 Treatment plan to address the issues experienced by an individual from one of the specialized groups in the community and/or custodial setting is developed to assist with rehabilitation and diversion from further offending.

Learning Outcomes

See Elements

Details of Learning Activities

Students will participate in a variety of teaching methods including: lectures, tutorials, class discussion, group/individual training workshops, audio-visual presentations, field excursions where applicable, and interaction with individuals and groups within the forensic mental health sector.

Teaching Schedule

Week One
Overview of Course guide (Dates for assessment and session info).
Introduction and overview of subject
The importance of the subject and knowledge in the criminal justice field.
Origins of Psychology
Criminology and Deviance
Class Activity

Week Two
Review of Week One
Origins of Psychology
Seven Approaches of Psychology
Video presentation

Week Three
Counselling Skills and Models
Stages of Counselling process
Working with Involuntary clients
Managing resistance
Class Activity

Week Four
Introduction to key psychotherapies

Week Five
Psychotherapies (continued)
Mental Health Disorders

Week Six
Mental Health Disorders
Treatment Options
Mental Health, Offenders and the Criminal Justice System

Week Seven
Suicide and Self Harm
Case Studies – time will be given in class to complete.

Week Eight
Assessment Tools and Treatment Options
Case Note recording

Week Nine
Forensic Psychology
Predictors of future offending behaviour -
Criminogenic and Non criminogenic factors
What works?

Week Ten
Victims of Crime
Trauma and Violence

Week Eleven- no class
Workshop and Case Plan Preparation

Week Twelve
Psychological Disorders Workshops

Week Thirteen
Psychological Disorders Workshop

Week Fourteen
Working with Dual Diagnosis clients

Week Fifteen
Family Violence and Child Abuse
The Child Protection System
Guest Speaker
Treatment Case Plan Due

Week Sixteen
Working with Sex offenders
Guest Speaker

Week Seventeen-no class
Exam Preparation

Week Eighteen

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Students will be required to design a treatment plan, deliver an oral presentation, and sit a written exam, addressing the main elements of the course. Participation in in-class role-plays and discussions, writing in a reflective journal, and analysis of case studies handed out for homework, will also support the learning outcomes relevant to the key competencies.

Assessment Tasks

    1. Mental Health Disorder’s Workshop Presentation – Group Assessment Task (35%)
    2. Treatment Case Plan – Individual Assessment Task (30%)
    3. Exam (25%)
    4. Participation, Reflection Tasks & Case Studies (10%)
    Discussion regarding assessments will occur throughout class and all email communications will be sent to your RMIT email address.

    Assessment Matrix

    The assessment has been designed to cover all learning outcomes and will be graded in accordance with RMIT University’s Mark Table 7 which is as follows:

    HD 80 – 100
    D 70 - 79
    C 60 - 69
    PA 50 - 59
    NN 0 - 49

    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