CASE STUDY CRITERIA THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED:
CCJ24 Law for Criminal Justice Professionals
Case Study Assessment
Choose ONE topic from the following list to complete:
1. You work for a youth justice advocacy service. You are concerned about the numbers of young offenders held
on remand in juvenile detention centres in Queensland. You are asked to write a report which details the
current position and compares diversionary options for juveniles across at least three Australian
jurisdictions with a view to recommendations to lower this rate.
2. You are employed as a research officer within Corrective Services. You have been asked to look at the issue
of children residing with their mothers in custody. You are asked to write a report which examines the issue
of young children residing with their mothers in prison across at least three Australian jurisdictions and
make a determination on whether the current Queensland situation should continue either in its current format
or at all.
3. You work as a research officer for a police service. You are asked to compile a report focusing on police
interactions with people suffering from mental illness. The report should highlight the operation of current
systems across three different Australian jurisdictions and focus on recommendation regarding improving
diversion and referral of such offenders during initial contact with police.
CRITERIA THAT MUST BE FOLLOWED AND INCLUDED:
A concise summary of the current position and an overview of the problem
In this introductory section, you must provide a brief summary of the current position, explain how the
problem arises in context, and set out the scope of your analysis. This section should contain a strong
statement of your argument (supported by relevant sources). It should also provide a brief overview of any
relevant law and/or departmental policy or procedure that is relevant to the topic chosen. I recommend you
allocate approx. 500 – 700 words to this section.
• Summarise current position/operation
» Look for policy and procedures and other policy documents or manuals on relevant organisational websites
• Explain how the problem arises in context
» Identify what you think issue is – TIP: is somewhat outlined in the questions and why supervisor needs to
pay attention to it.
• Strong statement of your argument – supported by relevant sources. Need to present both sides of the
argument but must argue for a side
• Overview relevant law and/or departmental policy or procedure that is relevant to topic chosen
Critical analysis of the problem
This forms the body of your report. In this section, you need to analyse the issues to identify how/where
areas of weakness or injustice arise. You will need to conduct independent research and use appropriate
sources to support your analysis. Don’t just describe the issues – analyse the strengths or weaknesses in the
system that contribute to or overcome the problem. This item requires considerable thought and attention, and
I would expect it to be longer and more detailed than the other sections – allocate approx. 1000 – 1500 words
to this section.
• Analyse the issues
» Describe it – paint a picture with evidence (e.g. stats, policy statements, reports noting good/bad
» Look at support for AND against the issue
• Identify areas of weakness/problems
» Look at this in the legislative/policy contact
» Analyse the current operation of the issue and look at what you think might not be working from evidence or
reports raising issues
» Consider how the people experiencing this issue (e.g. juveniles on remand or mothers with children going to
prison) experience it
• Don’t just describe the issues – analyse their positions in contributing to problem or solution
• Use appropriate sources to support your analysis
• What argument(s) are being made?
» What is the author’s approach/perspective?
» Are the points made by the author supported by evidence?
» Is a balanced argument being made?
» Is the evidence anecdotal or is the evidence the result of scientific
» Is it referenced? Is it recent? Are there unsupported generalizations?
» Do you agree with the points being made?
» Does the writer make reasonable inferences?
» Any unfair persuasion tactics such as appeals to prejudice or fear?
» Characterise the tone of the writing – Does the language, tone, or choice of examples reveal any biases? If
so, do these reduce its credibility?
» Do your reactions reveal biases in your own thinking?
• Strategic use of paragraphs
• introduce the point you want to make;
• make the point, with supporting evidence;
• reflect critically on the point.
• If it’s worth including, it’s worth saying why
• Check for unsubstantiated statements
» Sometimes a generalised, sweeping statement can slip through: the kind of statement that might be acceptable
on conversation, but not in academic writing
• Support arguments with detailed evidence from a range of sources
An analysis should provide information, interpretation, and evaluation of evidence not opinion based.
Recommendations for reform.
You should provide at least two recommendations for reform. Your recommendations should be based on your
research (i.e. based on the literature available), and should be well-grounded and achievable. I recommend you
allocate approx. 300 – 500 words to this section.
Weaknesses, problems or issues that should be addressed correspond with recommendations. Cant cover all in
essay, but must pick at least 2 major ones that you have talked about.
How are the recommendations going to fix/change/ address the issue, and what we need to fulfil it
Can adopt recommendations from other states but need to state why and how it will change the issue
• Provide at least two recommendations
• Note change would be required to implement them (e.g. Amendment to legislation, policy change, procedural
• Link your argument to your recommendations
» What is the problem?
» How does it manifest?
» Show evidence for this
» Decide how to address it
• Is my conclusion trailed and supported sufficiently well by my preceding analysis and argument?
» Check out the conclusions that you have drawn, then locate and check the supporting evidence you provide
» Make it clear where the recommendation comes from – hark back to the evidence presented and the conclusion
you drew about this.
» Be clear on why you think this recommendation will fix/change things for the better in relation to the gap
or problem you identified.
» It should not just appear OUT OF THE BLUE!
• The number of sources you will need depends on the topic chosen and the scope of the analysis you choose to
conduct. As a rule of thumb, you should use at least 10 good quality sources to support your critical analysis
and recommendations for reform. Please ensure that you comply with full APA referencing.
Trends & Issues – Australian Institute of Criminology
» useful sources of information about specific issues
» ?�technical papers’ common in criminology
» Particular scope and purpose
• development of a reliable evidence base
• Focus on disseminating information easily and concisely
• No ?�padding’, limited ability to analyse full area
• Findings understandable and accessible to range of stakeholders
» Analysis is generally about specific issues, rather than broader concepts or systems
» Aimed at policy/strategy development
» Be aware of their limitations
• Greater detail in terms of theoretical basis for a particular issue
• Provides detailed context of whether particular research fits in that area
• Usually testing something and disseminating results of those tests
• Discussing results in detail for their implications
• Aimed at researchers, academics
• Require more work (skills) to draw out what you need in terms of policy development
» Government and Non-government organisations
» Focus on specific topics
» Summarises known research base, comparative jurisdictional analysis
» Often focuses on describing current problems and noting areas which need focus for policy development
» Wider audience
» Careful in analysing the information presented for political bias
STYLE AND FORMATTING:
• The case study assignment should follow the structure provided in the table above. You may use headings and
sub-headings as appropriate, and may adopt the general style of a report, but there is no formal report style
required (i.e. no abstract, or paragraph numbering is required etc). Your assignment should be typed in 12
font and with at least 1 ½ line spacing. Your writing style must be appropriately formal and academic – avoid
writing in first person, don’t use colloquialisms, and support your work with references wherever necessary.
• Word length is 2,000 words (excluding references). You need to be careful in how you allot words for each
section. Plan and structure your paper with care. Show the word count of your paper (excluding references).
Your essay must not be more than 10% under the word limit. Given the nature of the comparative critical
analysis require some leeway is provided in the upper word limit for this assessment but it should not exceed
2500 words in total.
Notes from Tutor:
There are several ways that each topic can be approached, and there is no ‘right’ answer to any topic. What we
are looking for is evidence of your research and understanding of the issue, and your analysis of the key
gaps/problems that arise as you engage with the research.
A strong statement or argument helps you to shape and structure your report. You use your research to support
the argument you make, and also to test the strengths and weakness of your argument (that is, a strong
argument should be evidence-based, not just loudly argumentative).
Your recommendations/proposals should logically flow from this analysis – that is, they should be directed at
the issues/gaps/problems you identify.
The topics are fairly broad, so you need to show a strong general knowledge of the field, and then narrow your
analysis to the issues that you think are most important/relevant. Justify the choices that you make in this
regard – that is, there should be clear connections between your research and description of the problem and
your subsequent close analysis of key issues (and, of course, your recommendations to conclude). A strong
structure is crucial to this assessment piece. If you follow the structure provided in the memo table that
In terms of research, I recommend you use the databases available through the library – go to Library, click
on databases (under the catalogue search cell), then on Criminology (under the heading Search by Subject), and
then use AGIS (Attorney-General Information Service), or Informit. These 2 databases are quite good for
Australian information. In the search fields, use very basic terms like ‘overcrowding’ (in one field), and
then ‘prison’ in the other (if this is your topic). This should bring you some good information. Remember that
government reports (including departmental annual reports) can be interesting in this context too, and the AIC
is usually helpful as well.
TIP: It is best to investigate the other jurisdictions and discuss (within your word limits) how they deal
with the situation. Use these other jurisdictions within Australia as comparisons in your critique of the
Queensland situation. Make this obvious in your introductory section, so that the scope of your report is
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