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 social actors and institutions dealing with crime, law and justice from a rights-based perspective. Students opting for 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 four inter-related areas. First, it provides a strong theoretical underpinning on human rights and the criminal / juvenile justice system. Second, it encourages a critical examination of crime around issues such as gender-based violence; and 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. Third, it lays the foundation for a critical understanding of criminal /juvenile justice systems and agencies, and current issues such as policing, prison management, custodial justice, human rights violations, role of the State, correctional agencies and alternative justice systems. Fourth, it offers frameworks to engage towards social reintegration and inclusion of persons affected by crime, violence, stigma, and aggravated forms of vulnerabilities.
Today, the Indian justice system is characterised by innumerable arrests, overcrowded jails, punitive system with little to no corrections / rehabilitation 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.
In this context, social workers need to play a key role in engaging with State actors and 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 family/community structures and the administration, providing outreach services, pre-litigation work, conflict resolution, and community-based rehabilitation work. The field is full of involuntary clients and groups who are in custody often against their will, e.g. prisoners, children and women in protective care, victims of abuse, and homeless people arrested under 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 traumatised and disadvantaged due to their experiences with society and the State. Job prospects in this field include positions in law enforcement agencies, correctional institutions, civil society organisations working in the area of human rights, juvenile justice and child rights, legal aid, anti-trafficking and rehabilitation of victims of commercial sexual exploitation, prison reforms and rehabilitation of prisoners and their families, victim services and victim advocacy. With experience, professionals in this field may also qualify for professional positions in, teaching, and policy research.
Distribution of Credit Hours:
Core Social Work Courses
Elective Foundation Course (CBCS)
Open Elective Courses (CBCS)
History and Perspectives of Social Work
Social Work Practice with Individuals
Social Work Practice with Groups
Research Methods I
Criminology: Trends and Perspectives
Social Welfare Administration
Critical Perspectives on Social Work: Introduction to Social Theories
Research Methods II
Child Rights and Juvenile Justice
Rural Crime and Justice
Social Policy and Planning
Criminal Law and Practice
Correctional Perspectives, Policies, and Practice
Issues and Challenges in Criminal Justice Social Work
Social Action and Advocacy
Human Right and Access to Justice
Disciplinary Elective Course (CBCS)
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