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IELTS Prep: Crime and Punishment

Warm Up :

  1. Are there problems with crime where you live?

  2. In your opinion, what factors contribute to the prevalence or decline of crime in a particular area?


From the first story, "A Matter of Consequence":

  1. Bustling: (adjective) Full of activity, noise, and energy; vibrant.

  2. Pondering: (verb) Thinking deeply and carefully about something.

  3. Advocating: (verb) Publicly supporting or recommending a particular cause or policy.

  4. Vengeance: (noun) The desire for revenge or the act of seeking revenge.

  5. Compassion: (noun) A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is suffering, accompanied by a desire to alleviate the suffering.

  6. Harmonious: (adjective) Forming a pleasing or consistent whole; characterized by agreement and balance.

  7. Multifaceted: (adjective) Having many different aspects or facets; complex and versatile.

From the second story, "A Second Chance for the Pickpocket":

  1. Audacious: (adjective) Showing a willingness to take bold risks; daring.

  2. Redemption: (noun) The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil; the act of making amends or improving one's life.

  3. Rehabilitate: (verb) To restore to normal life through therapy, education, or training, especially after serving time in prison.

  4. Moniker: (noun) A name or nickname; a label or title.

  5. Lifeline: (noun) A means of support or rescue in times of difficulty.

  6. Revert: (verb) To return to a previous or former state, practice, or condition.

  7. Temptation: (noun) The desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise, due to a feeling of attraction or allure.

  8. Second chances: (noun phrase) Opportunities given to individuals to start anew or make amends after previous mistakes or wrongdoing.


Below are 2 Short Stories, different levels:

Emily's Second Chance


In a bustling city filled with lights and shadows, there lived a pickpocket named Emily. She was famous as "Sly Fingers Emily" for her talent at swiping wallets and valuables from unsuspecting folks. Crime was a common sight in this city, and Emily had always been part of it.

One night, while navigating a crowded subway station, Emily noticed a well-dressed man absorbed in his phone. Her nimble fingers couldn't resist temptation. She skillfully took his wallet from his pocket, feeling victorious as she vanished into the crowd.

What Emily didn't know was that security cameras had caught her in the act. Soon, her face was all over the news and social media. People talked about the daring thief who had stolen from an apparently helpless victim.

Days turned into weeks, and Emily tried to keep a low profile. Guilt gnawed at her, though. She had never stolen from someone who seemed so vulnerable, and it weighed on her like a heavy burden. The man's face haunted her thoughts, and she realized she couldn't keep going down this path.

One evening, a knock came at her door. Emily peered through the peephole to find a familiar face—the man she had stolen from. He had tracked her down, not seeking revenge, but offering a chance for change.

The man introduced himself as Daniel, a former criminal who had turned his life around with the help of a mentor and a second chance. He now extended the same opportunity to Emily—to break free from her life of crime and make amends.

Emily reluctantly agreed. Daniel introduced her to a program that aimed to help former criminals by offering job training, counseling, and a sense of community. It was a lifeline, and Emily took hold of it.

Over time, Emily transformed. She learned valuable skills, built new relationships, and began rebuilding her life. The city where she once hunted for victims became the place where she sought redemption.

Emily's journey wasn't easy. Temptation to return to her old ways lingered, but she had a support system that believed in her. She discovered that life had more to offer than the fleeting thrill of stealing.

As time passed, Emily and Daniel grew close, not as victim and thief, but as two individuals who had found their way out of darkness together. Daniel's forgiveness and second chance changed Emily's life, and she vowed to pay it forward.

Years later, Emily was no longer "Sly Fingers Emily." She was now known as "Empathetic Emily." She dedicated her life to helping others who had strayed down the wrong path, offering them the same second chance that had transformed her life. In a city still plagued by crime, Emily had become a symbol of hope—a living testament to the power of redemption and second chances.

A Matter of Consequence


In the heart of a bustling city, where crime seemed to have found a home in the shadows, there lived a man named David. He was a quiet, unassuming individual who spent his days working in a small bookstore. The quaint shop was nestled on a quaint street, one that had seen its share of crime in recent years. The question on everyone's lips was, "Are there problems with crime where you live?"

David, like the rest of his community, had his thoughts on the matter. He believed that crime was a consequence of many factors, often rooted in despair and desperation. It was a belief that set him apart from many in his neighborhood who advocated for a harsh approach to dealing with criminals, including the death penalty.

One evening, as David was closing the bookstore, he heard a commotion outside. Rushing to the window, he saw a young man being pursued by two police officers. The man, fear etched across his face, was sprinting for his life. It was a sight that left David pondering the question of whether the death penalty could prevent crime.

As the police officers apprehended the young man, David couldn't help but wonder about the circumstances that had led him down this path. He believed that addressing the root causes of crime, such as poverty and lack of opportunity, could be more effective in preventing it than the threat of death.

David's contemplative nature stemmed from personal experience. Years ago, he had been the victim of a mugging in the same neighborhood. It had been a traumatic event that left him shaken, but he had also seen the thief as a product of the same harsh environment that plagued his community. Rather than seeking vengeance, David had advocated for rehabilitation and support for those who had strayed onto the wrong path.

These beliefs often put him at odds with others who firmly believed that a person who steals should always be punished to the fullest extent. David, however, saw a bigger picture. He didn't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to justice.

As the years passed, David continued to witness crimes in his neighborhood, some involving drugs. He pondered the question of whether there were legal drugs that should be illegal. While he acknowledged the harm some legal substances could cause, he believed that education and treatment were more effective solutions than criminalization.

While crime rates fluctuated in his city, David remained steadfast in his belief that prison should serve not just as a punishment, but also as a place for rehabilitation. He believed in second chances and that society should provide the means for individuals to rebuild their lives.

As he reflected on these questions and shared his thoughts with those around him, David became an advocate for change in his community. He believed that making the legal system fairer and addressing the underlying issues of crime could lead to a safer and more harmonious place to live.

In the end, David's story was a testament to the power of one person's beliefs and actions in a world where crime was a complex and multifaceted issue. He may not have had all the answers, but his commitment to compassion and understanding made a difference in a neighborhood that was grappling with its own questions about crime and justice.

IELTS Discussion Questions:

  1. Can you describe the safety situation in your hometown? Are there any concerns related to crime?

  2. What is your opinion on the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent to crime?

  3. Have you or someone you know ever experienced a criminal incident or been a victim of theft? Could you share the details?

  4. Are there any legal medications or drugs that, in your view, should be made illegal? Why do you think so?

  5. Do you believe there are any currently illegal drugs that should be legalized? If yes, what are your reasons?

  6. In your opinion, do prisons serve as effective rehabilitation centers for criminals? Should they focus more on rehabilitation or punishment?

  7. Do you think individuals who commit theft should always face punishment, or are there circumstances where leniency might be appropriate?

  8. Are there situations where breaking the law is justified in your view? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to break the law?

  9. How do you perceive the fairness of the legal system in your country? If you think it could be improved, what changes would you suggest?

  10. Do you think that the presence of firearms helps to prevent or deter crime? Why or why not?

  11. Are there any legal activities or actions that you personally believe should be made illegal? What are your reasons?

  12. Have you noticed any trends in the crime rate in your country in recent years? Is it consistent with what you observe in your local area?

  13. What are the most common types of crimes in your country, and what are the typical penalties for these offenses?

Homework :

Personal Reflection: Write a reflective essay (approximately 300 words) on your own experiences and feelings regarding crime and safety in your community. Consider how your perspective may have changed or deepened as a result of this research and reflection.

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