A 14-year-old young who seriously damaged school was made to clean streets as a punishment. Do you think young criminals should be sent to prison or there are alternative forms of punishment? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
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Band 9 IELTS essay sample
More and more young people are getting involved in criminal activities. Actually, juvenile crime has become a grave social issue all over the world. Some people opine that putting teen criminals behind the bars is the right way to reform them. Others are more in favour of making them do community service. In my opinion, prison terms are unlikely to reform young people because they are too young for the harsh treatment they would receive there. A better solution is to make them give back to the society by engaging in unpaid social work.
Alternative punitive methods like community service are more effective than prison terms if young offenders are strictly supervised. Juveniles have a highly impressionable mind and they easily get influenced by their company. In prison, they will be surrounded by other criminals like them and in such an environment it is very unlikely that they will learn their mistakes. Moreover, they are at an exceptionally high risk of getting treated violently in jails. According to an Australian journal of teenage psychology, more than 50% of young prisoners develop psychological issues during the prison term. Therefore, I insist that sending them to prison is hardly the most effective way to reform them.
By contrast, if they are made to do community work, they get an opportunity to give back to the society they have harmed. Often times, while engaging in social work, they will get to interact with less fortunate people and do something to improve their lives. This is a great learning experience that will change their perspectives on life. For example, a survey conducted in China has shown that the reoffending rate of young criminals who engaged in compulsory community services is comparatively lower than that of young culprits who were sent to jail.
In conclusion, juveniles are too young to understand the consequences of their action and putting them behind the bars for the crimes they committed is unlikely to help them. In my opinion, making them do community work is a better alternative because it allows them to give back to the society and improves their chances of realizing their mistakes.