IELTS essay, topic: The majority of former prisoners commit further crime after their release (reasons and solutions)

This is a model response to a Writing Task 2 topic from High Scorer’s Choice IELTS Practice Tests book series (reprinted with permission). This answer is close to IELTS Band 9.

Set 5 Academic book, Practice Test 22

Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

It is a fact that the majority of people who are sent to prison commit further crime after their release.

What is causing this? What can be done to change this?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Sample Band 9 Essay

It is a sad fact that criminals who leave prison go on to commit further crime. There are various reasons for this, but there are also some things that can be done to prevent it from happening.

One reason for this recidivism is due to a lack of legitimate income. Many people turn to crime as they cannot find an alternative to earn money. When such person comes out of prison, it is very often the case that they have the same few opportunities for a legitimate income. In fact, these opportunities will even be reduced, as employers are often less willing to give an ex-prisoner a job. Some people also return to crime, as they spend all the time of their prison sentence with other criminals. This is not a great environment for rehabilitation, and sometimes even a network of contacts can be made to help develop criminal activities on release.

One important way to help address this problem is education. Criminals who have turned to illegal activities because of no alternatives to earn a living need to learn a way to earn a wage, such as a trade or vocational skills. Computer skills, for example, are in high demand and someone trained in these could very possibly find work. In addition, governments can offer incentives to employers to attract them to give jobs to newly-released prisoners. This would help people who don’t really want to return to crime achieve a fresh start. As keeping people in prison is an expensive business, governments might find it cheaper to pay these incentives.

To sum up, people returning to crime is a tragedy that should be avoided if at all possible in today’s society. Education and incentives can directly address the reasons for it and could make society a happier and safer place.

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