School: School of Social Work - Mumbai Campus
Social Work in the thematic field of Criminology and Justice provides immense opportunity to examine and work with actors and institutions dealing with crime, law and justice from a rights-based perspective. The Master of Arts in Social Work (Criminology and Justice) is being offered with the assumption that the students opting this programme will be exposed to the dynamics and complexities of deviance and crime from diverse world-views and will develop capacities to critically reflect on the criminal justice system across the country. The broad concerns of the programme correspond to three inter-related areas: (i) it provides a strong theoretical underpinning on human rights and the criminal justice system; (ii) it encourages a critical examination of crime around issues such as gender-based violence, atrocities against dalits, de-notified tribes and socially stigmatised communities; it also dwells upon areas related to juvenile justice and crime among youth, trafficking of drugs and human beings, transnational crime and terrorism; and (iii) lays the foundation towards a critical understanding of criminal justice agencies and current issues such as policing, prison management, custodial justice, human rights violations, role of the State, correctional agencies and alternative justice systems.
Today, the Indian justice system is characterised by innumerable arrests, overcrowded jails, and courts with lakhs of pending cases. Despite these realities there is a significant traditional indifference towards criminal justice. It is the poor, the unemployed, the visible minorities, the powerless, and those ostracised for their sexual orientation that are most frequently criminalised by the system. Understanding that the law and its application are frequently biased, the marginalised may behave in ways that bring them into direct conflict with the law. The presence of social work in the administration of justice has, thus, become a valuable component of practice for the profession itself, as well as an important influence on justice agencies.
The role of social workers in this context needs to be emphasised. They can play a key role in engaging with the State actors and the victim groups in ensuring justice and accessing rehabilitative structures. They need to interface with a diversity of issues in practice situations. Their engagement with the justice system will impact the situation of offenders, victims, disputants, persons released from custodial institutions, vulnerable groups rescued from exploitative situations and those who are prone to criminalisation or victimisation. They can be involved in a range of interventions such as counselling, liaison with the family/community structures and the administration, providing outreach services, pre-litigation work, conflict resolution, and community-based rehabilitation work. The field is characterised by working with involuntary clients and groups who are in custody often against their will: e.g., for prisoners, children and women in protective care, victims of abuse, and homeless people arrested under the beggary and vagrancy laws. These are almost always, the most stigmatised and socially excluded populations.
Working with such groups requires specialised knowledge, attitudes and skills, specific to justice settings, in terms of international laws and conventions, constitutional and legal provisions, powers and accountability of the system, and correctional laws and policies. It needs specialised skills to work with resistant and status-quoist systems; to engage with overloaded and demoralised justice functionaries and to work with affected groups who are fatalistic and traumatised due to their experiences with society and the State. Job prospects in this field include positions in criminal and regulatory law enforcement agencies, correctional institutions, homeland security, juvenile detention, counselling and supervision, victim services and victim advocacy. With years of work experience, professionals in this field may also qualify for professional positions in legal practice; teaching; policy research, counselling or therapy, and as forensics experts.
Distribution of Credit Hours:
Philosophy of Research
Open Elective Courses (CBCS)
Core Social Work Courses
Disciplinary Elective Course
History and Perspectives of Social Work
Social Case Work
Social Group Work
Research Methods I
Criminology: Trends and Perspectives
Elective Foundation Course (CBCS)
Open Elective Course (CBCS)
Law and Social Work
Social Welfare Administration
Critical Perspective on Social Work: Introduction to Social Theories
Research Methods II
Child Rights and Juvenile Justice
Rural crime and Justice
Socail Policy and Planning
Victimology and Crime Prevention Strategies
Criminal Law and Practice
Disciplinary Elective Course (CBCS)
Human Rights and Access to Justice
Note: The total number of credits, list of CBCS courses and semester-wise listing of courses is provisional, and may undergo some changes.
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