IELTS Essay Some people believe there should be fixed punishments for each type of crime

IELTS Writing Task 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic:

Some people believe 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 always be taken into account when deciding on the punishment.

Discuss both views and give your own opininion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

IELTS Essay | Some people believe there should be fixed punishments for each type of crime

It is one thing to determine if a crime has been committed based on evidence, it is quite another to establish how and why the crime was committed. For this reason in most democratic countries there exists a judicial system based on a jury and a judge. The jury is responsible for determining if the evidence clearly indicates that a particular crime was committed and the judge is then responsible for passing an appropriate sentence based on the facts and circumstances of the case in question.

While some people may think that a fixed sentence for each crime irrespective of the reason or manner in which it was committed would be better, this notion oversimplifies what is normally quite a complex situation. No two people are exactly the same and no two sets of circumstances are exactly equal. They may be similar in certain aspects but each event is unique.

It is far more just and humane to treat each case on an individual basis based on the actual events and circumstances involved rather than simply basing a sentence on the end result without considering what may have led up to the crime or the reason behind it.

As an example, it is easy to determine if a driver breaks the speed limit on a road. There are measuring devices and cameras which can be employed to give evidence. However, while driving at maybe 5mph over the limit is technically a crime, it is by no means as serious an offence as driving at 50mph over the limit or driving recklessly at speed or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the latter case the potential consequences of any ensuing accident and danger to third parties is far greater and serious and would rightly deserve a harsher sentence than for the driver who was just over the limit.

It is important that circumstances and motivation are taken into account when it comes to passing sentence for criminal acts. The severity of the sentence should be matched with not only the degree of crime but also the underlying reason and manner in which it was committed.

How would you answer this IELTS essay question about crime and punishment?

  • Should there be fixed punishments?
  • Should each case be judged on its own circumstances?
  • Are there any crimes which should have more severe punishment?