Crime and punishment IELTS model essay with vocabulary

Our band nine sample essays give you the opportunity to learn from successful essays that show off the best structure, vocabulary and grammar. This IELTS essay on crime and punishment explores the advantages and disadvantages of harsh punishment for criminals.

band Nine Sample Essay

In some countries, crimes are punished harshly. What are some advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

Several nations have opted to implement a system of strict penalties, such as long jail sentences and execution, for crimes. In this essay, I will explore the advantage that this is a good deterrent with the disadvantage that this harms rehabilitation.

Punitive measures can help deter future crime. If people can see that crimes will be punished harshly, they are far less likely to want to commit a crime. Because people consider risk versus reward before acting, making crime as risky as possible by increasing punishment can stop criminals. Conversely, when countries have light punishments for crimes like shoplifting, people in those countries might feel like it is worth the risk to do these crimes.

However, these strong punishments also increase recidivism by failing to rehabilitate people. One of the main purposes of sending people to prison is to prevent them from committing crimes when they leave; however, making prisons and other punishments too strict works against this purpose. When criminals have a heavily punitive experience, they lose self-confidence and become distrustful of authority, meaning they are more likely to be involved in crime when they leave prison. Alternatively, if prisoners have access to training and support, such as drug rehabilitation programs and anger management classes, they are far more likely to rejoin society in a productive way. 

In conclusion, the correct punishment for crimes is a complex issue. On the one hand, strong measures deter crime; on the other hand, the same measures make it more likely for prisoners to reoffend.

crime and punishment vocabulary

Although crime and punishment is a common topic in the IELTS exam, there, thankfully, is not too much vocabulary you need to know for it. Let’s take a look at some of the high level vocabulary in this answer to kick start your learning.

A deterrent is something that scares people away from doing something.
If you rehabilitate someone, you help them live a normal and healthy life. Rehabilitation from crime is helping them not commit a crime again. Rehabilitation from drugs or alcohol is helping them avoid those substances in the future.
If you deter someone from doing something, you stop them from doing it by making them scared of the consequences.
Commit a crime
In English, we are far more likely to say ‘commit a crime’ than ‘do a crime’. Therefore, this is an important collocation to know.
Risk versus reward
This is another collocation. We use this when describing making decisions when considering how dangerous something is with how fun or profitable it might be.
Stealing something from a shop by hiding it in your clothes or just running out.
The rate at which people who commit crimes go on to commit more crimes.
If something is punitive, it has the purpose of punishing people.
Distrustful of authority
A common collocation for people who do not like or trust the police, government or other authority figures.

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