Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Community justice

Community Justice is a specialist branch of Criminal Justice that focuses on the punishment and rehabilitation of offenders in the community. There is good evidence to show that community punishments can often be more effective than custodial sentences in preventing re-offending with some categories of offenders.

When an offender is found guilty and is given a community punishment by the court, it then becomes the responsibility of the Probation Service to ensure that the community sentence is carried out. Depending on the level and nature of risk they pose, individual offenders are allocated either to a Probation Services Officer or to a Probation Officer. Probation Officers are fully qualified professionals who are trained to assess and manage higher risk offenders who are serving community punishments. Probation Officers also supervise offenders who have been released on license from prison, having been permitted to serve the rest of their sentence in the community.

The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth is the largest criminology/criminal justice department in the UK, and holds contracts with the Ministry of Justice to train Probation Officers in five of the ten regions in England and Wales. Nine of our current academic staff previously worked as qualified Probation Officers before joining the University, and community justice modules are taught on many of the Institute’s full time and part time courses.

Courses with Community Justice content

  • BA (Hons) Community Justice
  • Graduate Diploma in Community Justice (for recent graduates with a relevant degree)

Both of these awards lead to qualification as a Probation Officer.  Read more about Probation Officer Training at Portsmouth.

Students with a master's qualification can progress to a professional doctorate: