02129 - Criminal Sociology

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims at dealing with some socio-criminal and victimology subjects which are of interest for the professional training of future social workers.

By tracing back the history of the penitentiary institution in the course of the centuries, we will highlight some aspects of criminal rehabilitation programs (with reference to the victims too). Subsequently, through the penitentiary rules, we will focus on difficulties to link prevention and treatment, also for as far as the relation between social service and justice is concerned.

Course contents

The course focuses on the following themes:

  1. Brief review of some socio-criminological theories;
  2. Historical analysis of the penitentiary institution and of the punishment;
  3. The re-education and rehabilitation of the offender;
  4. Penitentiary rules with a particular reference to the probation and the home detention.


Classes will be held in the first semester (from September to December 2021).


Preparatory book useful to help gain a better understanding of the themes of the section "Course contents":

Balloni A., Bisi R., Sette R., Criminologia e psicopatologia forense, Wolters Kluwer-Cedam, Milano, 2019, only the following parts: chapter 3; chapter 4; paragraph 5.1; paragraph 7.2; paragraph 7,6; paragraph 7.10 ; paragraphs 11.1 and 11.2 


Compulsory books for not regular attendees:

1) Balloni A., Bisi R., Sette R., Criminologia applicata, Wolters Kluwer-Cedam, Milano, 2019: only chapter 24.

2) Sette R., Detenuti e prigioni. Sofferenze amplificate e dinamiche di rapporti interpersonali, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2017.

3) Stati Generali sull’Esecuzione Penale, Documento finale: this document is uploaded on "Virtuale"



For regular attendees the bibliography for the exam preparation will be recommended by the teacher during lessons.


Bibliography for international students is published on the platform virtuale.unibo.it

Teaching methods

Except in cases of future restrictions due to the pandemic, lessons are helded in classroom. 

In any case, students can attend all class lessons online with MS TEAMS.



Lectures, videos and class discussions.

Despite the fact that it is not required, course attendance is highly recommended.

Assessment methods

The aim of the final exam is to verify the achievement of the following goals:

1) knowledge of the penitentiary institution and of the punishment;

2) the ability to use that knowledge in order to make decision in the professional context.


The final exam will consist of a written text.

Erasmus students have to check the assessment method with the teacher.

For non-attendees students the final written text is composed of three open questions (exam duration: 1hr10minutes). Grades are expressed in thirties. For each question there are 10 points assigned max.

For students with good attendance records, 2 midterm written examinations will be administered during class hours. The final grade will be calculated by doing the arithmetic mean of the midterm grades.

Students who will not pass one of the midterm exams have to sit final exam during final examination periods.

The student’s ability to find information in the literature and other educational materials in order to ascertain whether the learning objectives have been met will be highly evaluated. The student’s attainment of a complete view of the topics covered in the course, along with their critical analysis, a demonstration of having an adequate expressive mastery and a specific language, will be evaluated with high marks (from 27 to 30/30). Less well articulated knowledge mostly from memory, the ability to understand, analyse, and summarise, a language not always appropriate, will be evaluated with lower marks (from 22 to 26/30). If the study of the topics covered in the course is basic but is accompanied by educational gaps and inappropriate language, the marks will not be more than passing grades (from 18 to 21/30). Educational gaps, inappropriate language, lack of capacity to find information in the literature and other educational materials will lead to negative marks (less than 18/30).

It is forbidden to use books, notes, computer and online material during the written exams.

It is possible to have a look to the written texts during office hours. The registration of the final mark is also made in the student’s absence only if they had previously agreed to it.

Students applying for graduation who have passed the exam and need the registration of the mark within a specific date are invited to communicate it to teachers during the exam.

Teaching tools

PC and video projector (during lectures in classroom). PC and MS TEAMS (for online lectures). Web resources.

During lectures, the professor will use Powerpoint presentations and other documents that will be published on the UNIBO platform.

These documents do not substitute the compulsory reading materials, but they are supplementary and constitute a study guide to help gain a better understanding of the course contents.



Policy on the Use of Technology in the Classroom. Technology is useful, only when aimed to improve performance in the classroom. Therefore all hand held devices (cell phones, cameras, etc.) should be turned off and packed away during class sessions. Computers in the classroom are a tool for work, and should be used for note-taking only. If computers are used for texting, e-mail, or Internet connection (without the explicit permission of the professor), the professor may stop the use of a computer in that class. Students who would like to use voice recorders for class lectures are kindly invited to ask for the explicit permission of the professor in order to do so.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Raffaella Sette