GT Writing Task 2 / Essay Sample # 102
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
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 always be taken into account when deciding on the punishment.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
Punishments are instrumental in the interest of retaining confidence in the rule of law. Many people believe that criminals ought to be subject to fixed punishments for each crime, while others opine that the circumstances of a particular crime and the motive behind it should be considered before punishing someone. In this case, I believe fixed sentences for crimes is unfair and factors behind a breach of law should always be investigated.
To commence with, fixed punishments limit the judge’s discretion in deciding punishment. In fact, the legislatures introduce mandatory sentencing laws to end judicial leniency and treat all criminals equally who commit the same crime. The proponents of fixed punishment go on arguing that it is the most appropriate remedy; since there are certain kinds of crimes that are premeditated. A case in point is traffic rule violation in which most punishments are set. This ensures the same treatment for all violators.
Having said that, many liberals believe that criminal statutes should not carry fixed sentences. According to their argument, judges ought to take into account several factors, such as the circumstances under which the crime was committed, the reason behind it, the background of the accuser and so on. In simple words, judges can examine all information, which is reasonably pertinent to the defendant’s culpability. There are situations in which the defendant has not committed the crime with deliberate intention and he or she should not be treated like a recurring offender who makes crime a habit. For example, suppose a man merely tries to save himself and his family from an armed robber while committing the murder accidentally. If there is a mandatory sentence for murder, then the man will receive severe punishment. In the case, the man will be the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
In conclusion, although fixed punishment can treat all the criminals equally, judges should consider some vital factors, such as circumstances, motives and so forth. Personally, I believe that fixed laws should not limit the judge and jury’s discretion in determining punishment.