How to make a punishment fit the crime? Taking a look at a legal system one might think that there is only one type of penalty regardless of the crime you commit. No matter if it is a petty crime (= not serious crime) or a serious crime, the most common punishment is a prison sentence.  There are, however, alternative punishments which are becoming more and more popular all around the world.

One example is community service (= work without payment, done as a punishment). It is usually used as a penalty for fairly minor crimes such as theft or shoplifting. Criminals getting such sentence not only help their local communities but also set an example for others and deter other criminals from breaking the law (= make them decide not to do it). Another quite interesting penalty is electronic tagging (= using a small electronic device attached to your body so that you always know where the person is) or being put on probation (= not going to prison but being controlled by a police officer who checks the behaviour of the criminal). In such cases the police are able to control the criminal and his/ her whereabouts without the necessity of sending the person to prison. Using such punishments would not, however, be effective in the case of hardened criminals (= experienced criminals). Such people deserve a severe punishment (= harsh, strict) and need to be isolated from the rest of the society.  However, considering the problem of overcrowding in prisons, perhaps we should be aware of other options.



More contexts for the new words:

  • In some states of the USA capital punishment (= killing someone as a punishment for a crime) is still the most common punishment for crimes such as murder or terrorism.


  • Killing these animals is a criminal offence (= crime, illegal act)




Decide if the sentences are true or false.


  1. Capital punishment is the same as death penalty.
  2. Petty crime is the same as serious crime.
  3. A hardened criminal is a person who has committed a crime before.
  4. If your punishment is probation you will not go to prison.
  5. If you deter a person from doing something they will probably decide not to do it.
  6. You are usually paid a lot for doing community service.




Match the question halves. Then answer the questions.

  1. Do you consider electronic
  2. Do you think severe
  3. Are you in favour of capital

a) tagging an effective punishment?
b) punishment?
c) punishments deter criminals from breaking the law again?




In this lesson we are going to discuss adverbs of degree: fairly, quite and rather. They are used with adjectives or adverbs to indicate certain degree – more than slightly but not as much as very.


They mean almost the same, but fairly and quite suggest a positive idea, while rather suggests a negative idea.

He enjoys fairly good health.
I realized that I’d been rather stupid and selfish.


Only rather can be used with comparatives where the idea can be positive or negative.

The problem is rather more complicated than we had expected.





He was CAUGHT RED-HANDED with the money in his bag.


If you are caught red-handed you are caught doing something wrong.






  1. When you LOCK SOMEONE UP you put the person in prison.

The prince was locked up in the Tower of London.


  1. When you TURN SOMEONE IN you tell the police about someone or take them to the police because they have committed a crime.

His own brother turned him in.





  1. He was ……………. up for 12 years for armed robbery.
  2. Many car thieves are ………………. red-handed.
  3. Tell me the truth about the robbery or I will ………… you in.








A United Nations committee has voted for an immediate worldwide freeze on the use of the death penalty. A total of 99 countries voted in favor of a suspension of capital punishment, while 52 opposed the proposal and the remaining 33 nations did not vote. Those who campaigned against the death penalty said the abolition would „contribute to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights.” They said capital punishment has not been a deterrent to crimes and many innocent people are still put to death by mistake. The vote followed two days of heated discussions. Singapore, the USA, China, Syria and Libya were among those wanting to keep the death penalty. The representatives of those countries accused the EU of improperly linking the death penalty with human rights and said it was imposing its “values” on the rest of the world. They argued that countries have a right to determine the legal measures and penalties which are appropriate for their societies, including the death penalty for the most serious crimes.




  • suspension – the act of officially stopping something for a period of time
  • abolition – the official end to a law, system etc.
  • enhancement – the process of improving something
  • deterrent – something that makes people decide not to do something by making them realise the unpleasant consequences
  • to impose sth – to introduce something, such as a new law, and force people to accept it



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Ex. 1

  1. True
  2. False –it is the opposite
  3. True
  4. True
  5. True
  6. False – you are not paid for it


Ex. 2

  1. a
  2. c
  3. b


Ex. 3

  1. locked
  2. caught
  3. turn