Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs
A: Do you think we should be tougher on crime?
B: Well, it depends on what you mean.
A: For example, we could bring back the death penalty for murder, give longer
prison sentences for lesser offences and lock up juvenile offenders.
B: Those really sound like Draconian measures. Firstly, what do you do about
miscarriages of justice if you've already put innocent people to death?
A: You'd only use capital punishment if you were absolutely sure that you'd
convicted the right person.
B: But, there've been many cases of wrongful conviction where people have
been imprisoned for many years. The authorities were sure at the time, but later it was
shown that the evidence was unreliable. In some cases, it'd been fabricated by the
A: Well, no system of justice can be perfect, but surely there's a good case for
longer prison sentences to deter serious crime.
B: I doubt whether they could act as an effective deterrent while the detection
rate is so low. The best way to prevent crime is to convince people who
commit it that they're going to be caught. It doesn't make sense to divert all your
resources into the prison system.
A: But if you detect more crimes, you'll still need prisons. In my reckoning, if
we could lock up more juvenile criminals, they'd learn that they couldn't get away
with it. Soft sentences will merely encourage them to do it again.
B: Yes, but remember that prisons are often schools for criminals. To remove
crime from society, you really have to tackle its causes.