IELTS Writing Essay, Prison is the only truly effective form of punishment
“Prison is the only truly effective form of punishment, because it separates criminals from society.” To what extent do you support this view? You should give reasons for your answer, and include ideas and examples from your own knowledge and experience.
There is no doubt that we need to find effective forms of punishment for criminals and also find ways to protect citizens from the threat of crime. I personally feel that prison is one of the many options we should have at our disposal but is not always the most effective.
Firstly, I do not accept that all criminals need to be separated from society. Juvenile and minor offenders can be punished through fines, community service or other non-custodial means. This is cheaper than prison and prevents the damage to the criminal’s family which in itself could generate further social problems. Furthermore, by keeping these small-scale criminals in society, we can try to rehabilitate them, for example through training or education programmes. This will help to reduce re- offending in future.
Besides this, if offenders are believed to be a threat to their fellow citizens, there are ways of containing them such as electronic tagging, curfews or regular reporting to the police. Such methods have been shown to be effective in reducing criminal behaviour and are themselves quite a strong punishment, as they restrict an offender’s freedom greatly. Finally, we should remember that prisons are to some extent ‘schools of crime’ and in many cases prisoners end their jail terms as more capable and determined criminals than when they entered.
Of course, it is true that in certain cases we need to both punish criminals and isolate them from other people. I recognise that violent or dangerous people need to be imprisoned – yet I believe this applies to a small minority of instances.
To conclude, I feel that prison is a last resort in cases where there is no alternative. This does not make it the only effective punishment, but rather the most severe among a variety of possibilities.