This degree provides the student with the means by which to critically analyse the body of contemporary penal law and its operation, laying special emphasis on European systems and examining not only the fundamental framework of criminal justice as this is drawn by the rule of law but also those authorities and agencies that are charged with enforcing this framework and the relations they must maintain in specific instances of social intervention in constitutional, social and democratic rule of law initiatives. In view of current developments, the program will also consider the presence of criminal activity in Europe (the illegal drug and arms trade, organised crime, and economic and tax crime) together with social and political crime (illegal immigration, gender-based violence, human trafficking and crimes related to xenophobia) and the manner in which the redirection of such crime to criminal justice systems has generated a degree of public alarm; and students will therefore be examining and analysing the network of international legal agreements and treaties that are shaping the current European scenario in terms of social, economic and criminal policy.
Furthermore, the present structure of the European Higher Education Area has enabled European research institutions to develop new initiatives and programs and in this context the OSPDH has itself fostered the importance of focusing student study interests on specifically European aspects of the issue of crime, so sharing a cultural base in the way teaching staff participating in the program have already done in the exchange and generation of experience.
Students successfully completing this masters degree will be able to:
- demonstrate the interdisciplinary knowledge required of European penal systems in order to research and develop public policies that can meet the challenges of our present society;
- critically evaluate a social problem of criminal behaviour and the means by which to control this, paying special attention to the protection of human rights;
- analyse those social phenomena customarily assigned to the custody of penal systems and which themselves become areas of public alarm and unrest, such as immigration, gender-based violence, human trafficking, xenophobia, and social areas related to youth protest;
- apply an analytic approach to social issues so as to formulate alternatives in criminal policy.