IELTS Writing Task 2
Essay Topic: Criminals and Prisons
As seen in China, 2012-5-12
旧题>Some people think that sending criminals to prison is an effective way to deal with them. Others think that education and training are better solutions. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
新题>"Prisons are useless for crime problems and education is a better solution. " Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.
By Jeenn Lee Hsieh
First thing first, accept that sending criminals to prison is an effective, if not the only way, to protect society. Stop thinking in terms of education as "punishment" for a moment and instead think about safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible violent sex offenders, trigger-happy drug dealers, and cold-blooded murderers. Education does reduce crimes to some extent; however, it is doubtful if most of them would choose to live a life that is crime-free.
Since most inmates eventually return to the community, it seems not a bad idea to help them learn a trade and gain skills to make a decent living. And that is why training programs are often believed to be positive in changing criminal behavior. Nevertheless, most statistics tend to tell a different story. As it is, rather than becoming productive members of society, they turn themselves into more skilled criminals. So it is one thing that rehabilitation offers opportunities; it is quite another whether career criminals make good use of their prison time. In most cases, after serving their terms they continue commiting offences of a more sophisticated kind.
Education is more a romantic option than an effective solution for crime problems. At this point, it must be made clear that the argument is not against education in correctional facilities, considering that most inmates are under-educated. Rather, the case is concerned about a control policy to strictly supervise specific released prisoners for at least two years to observe what might happen to society. Here, skeptics claim that, in many cases, prison education produces nothing more than "better-educated criminals", only more dangerous. That the violent crime wave is raging while most prisons are over-crowded certainly does not reflect a significant decrease in recidivism. It merely shows the fear and impotence of innocent people in the community.
The point is that sending criminals to prison is effective, if only by moving them away from the community. On the other hand, to regard prison education as an effective "punishment" is simply wishful-thinking, in view of relevant evidence that underlies recidivism. In all events, education provides opportunities, however limited, but it depends on the way those repeat offenders see these opportunities, the rest being pure guessing. （谢振礼老师原创）