This week's talking point is prisons. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas come to mind more easily the day you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
What do you think life in a typical prison is like?
What does an inmate do on a typical day?
What do you know about the cells, food, facilities, activities for prisoners?
Do prisons have any ‘advantages’?
What disadvantages can you think of?
Should prison be more about punishment or rehabilitation?
What alternative to prisons can you think of?
Can crime be prevented or is it inherent to human nature?
Have you heard of programmes like restorative justice (where the criminal comes face to face with the victim)?
Does justice change much from one country to another?
Decide on a fair form of punishment for these criminals:
1 A 90-year-old man who is found guilty of income tax evasion over a period of 50 years.
2 A woma who is found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. She swerved to avoid a pet cat and caused the death of a motorcyclist.
3 An airport employee who stole valuable items from suitcases that were left on carousels. She sold them for cash, or gave them away as presents.
4 A 17-year-old who has been caught shoplifting trainers. It’s the first time he’s been caught, but at home the police find a large collection of sportswear.
To illustrate the point you can watch this short video on Halden Prison (Norway), the most humane prison in the world.