Essay 102 – Fixed punishments for each type of crime

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.

Model Answer 1:

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 a fixed sentence 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 this case, the man will be the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

In conclusion, although fixed punishment can treat all 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.

Model Answer 2:

The question of whether there should be fixed punishments for every kind of crime or if the circumstances and grounds of a crime should be considered when deciding on the punishment has been a subject of debate. This essay will explore both perspectives. In my opinion, a balanced approach is more practical and upholds fair and impartial justice in society.

Supporters of fixed punishments argue that they provide consistency, clarity, and fairness in the criminal justice system. They believe that categorising crimes and assigning predetermined punishments ensures that everyone is treated equally under the law. This approach eliminates potential biases and ensures that similar crimes receive similar penalties, promoting a sense of justice and deterrence. For example, proponents argue that mandatory minimum sentences for certain offences discourage potential criminals by establishing clear consequences.

On the other hand, proponents of considering the circumstances and motivation of a crime argue that such factors are critical in determining an appropriate punishment. They contend that a rigid system of fixed punishments fails to account for the complexities and unique circumstances of individual cases. By taking into account the context, mitigating factors, and intent behind a crime, the justice system can better tailor the punishment to fit the specific circumstances. For instance, a person who committed theft out of desperation due to financial hardships may require a different approach compared to someone who committed theft for personal gain.

In my opinion, a balanced approach is necessary. While fixed punishments provide consistency, they risk overlooking important factors that could influence the severity of a crime. Recognizing the circumstances and motivation behind an offence allows for a more nuanced assessment of the situation, promoting a fairer and more effective justice system.

In conclusion, while fixed punishments offer clarity and uniformity, taking individual factors into account allows for a more tailored and just approach. Ultimately, a combination of both approaches is crucial to ensure a fair and effective criminal justice system that considers the complexities of each case while upholding the principles of justice and deterrence.

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