Model Answer - Ielts Writing (Task 2)

Some people believe that there should be fixed punishments for each type of crime. Others, however, argue that the circumstances of an individual crime, and the motivation for committing it, should also be taken into account when deciding on the punishment.

Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

There are various types of crimes, ranging from minor to serious offenses. Punishment is set by the legal system through the courts and may be anything from a small fine to a life-sentence and in some countries and circumstances capital punishment.

Let’s take the example of a speeding offense and two possible motivations for this violation. Someone may have been speeding because they were in a hurry to arrive at their destination. Another person could be in a rush to get his pregnant wife to the hospital. Should they both receive the same fine? Some would say ‘yes’.

In cases of serious crimes like rape, murder and paedophilia, I believe, the courts shouldn’t be lenient. Everyone deserves a fair trial and is innocent until they are proved guilty, but under such circumstances, I feel the motivation and social conditions under which the law was broken are not valid. Life imprisonment and the death penalty should be applied.

In my opinion, there is no excuse for criminal action, particularly a severe one. Stealing food in cases of hunger is the only pardonable offense. The role of the court should only be to determine whether an offender is innocent or guilty. Other than that the punishment for each type of crime should be pre-determined. Allowing people to explain their circumstances or motivation weakens the punishment and excuses the crime. Furthermore, it wastes the court’s time and taxpayers’ money is spent on justifying criminal activities. Lastly, criminals and defence lawyers become good liars and fabricate the facts to suit a valid motivation.

Cambridge, Ielts 7 past papers, p. 54
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4 comment for "Model Answer - Ielts Writing (Task 2)"

  1. People have different views about whether or not punishments for crimes should be fixed.

    Although there are some advantages of fixed punishments, I would argue that it is better to

    judge each crime individually.

    There are some good arguments for having one punishment for each crime. This system

    ensures that each member of society knows and understands the consequences of

    committing any crime. It is a fair system, and it leaves people with no doubt that breaking

    the law is not tolerated. At the same time, it is much easier for judges and lawyers when

    there is a clear rule dictating how each offender should be sentenced. For example, if

    someone is found guilty of stealing, the judge will simply follow the rules and apply the

    appropriate punishment.

    Despite the above arguments, I believe that the context of any criminal act should be

    taken into account when sentencing an offender. This means that the judge should

    consider the details of each particular case before deciding on the appropriate

    punishment. For example, a person who steals something from a shop for the first time

    should not be treated in the same way as a repeat offender who has been caught

    shoplifting many times before. It would be sensible to give the first-time offender a small

    punishment, such as a fine, while the repeat offender may be sent to prison.

    In conclusion, it seems to me that a mature and humane legal system would be flexible

    rather than fixed in terms of how decisions about punishments are made.

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