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Speaking activity: Crime and Punishment

What are some of the most serious crimes that 21st century
societies face?

Why do people become criminals?

What are the causes of crime?

Are some people born bad or do they become criminals as a

consequence of the environment?

What can be done to prevent crime?

How can we prevent criminals from committing a crime


In your opinion, is imprisonment an effective form of


Can you create some alternative forms of punishment

like community service?
A. Glossary of crimes

 Felony
 Homicide=Murder
 Manslaughter
 Smuggling=Bootlegging
 Bigamy
 Baby- or wife-battering
 Assault
 Arson
 Embezzlement
 Fraud
 Forgery
 Counterfeit
 Piracy
 Accident fraud
 Swindling
 Perjury
 Abuse of power
 Disorderly conduct
 Terrorism
 Criminal attempt
 Speeding
 Mugging
 Slander
 Treason
 Conspiracy
 Spying
 Drug peddling
 Larceny
 Shoplifting
 Burglary
 Pick-pocketing
 Petty theft
 Hijacking
 Blackmail
 Kidnapping
 Sexual harassment
 Bribery
 Corruption
 Trespassing
 Robbery
 Theft
 Vandalism
 Looting
A. Glossary of crimes

 Felony (a serious crime)

 Homicide=Murder (the crime of killing a person)
 Manslaughter (the crime of killing someone unintentionally)
 Smuggling=Bootlegging (Taking things from a country to illegally)
 Bigamy (the act of marrying a person while already legally married to sb else)
 Baby- or wife-battering (the act of hitting sb)
 Assault (making a sudden and violent attack on sb)
 Arson (setting a building on fire in order to damage or destroy sth)
 Embezzlement (illegally taking money that belongs to an organization you work for)
 Fraud (obtaining money or property by deceiving people)
 Forgery (an illegal copy of sth, the crime of making copies)
 Counterfeit (copied exactly in order to make sb believe that the copy is the original)
 Piracy (the practice of attacking and stealing from ships at sea)
 Accident fraud (having fake accidents in order to obtain money)
 Swindling (cheating sb in order to get money from them)
 Perjury (telling lies in court when you have promised to tell the truth)
 Abuse of power (misusing power)
 Disorderly conduct (showing bad behaviors that are not suitable for societies)
 Terrorism (violent actions for political purposes)
 Criminal attempt (attempting to committing a crime)
 Speeding (the act of driving a vehicle faster than is legally allowed)
 Mugging (attacking a person, using force or threats to steal money or possessions)
 Slander (a false, spoken statement about sb which damages that person’s reputation)
 Treason (helping your country’s enemies or attempting to illegally remove government)
 Conspiracy (a secret plan made by two or more people to do sth bad, illegal)
 Spying (finding out secret information about another country or organization)
 Drug peddling (selling drugs to people)
 Larceny (taking sth that doesn’t belong to you, but not in a way that involves force)
 Shoplifting (taking goods illegally from a store without paying for them)
 Burglary (illegally breaking into a building and stealing things)
 Pick-pocketing (stealing things out of pockets or bags, especially in a crowd)
 Petty theft (stealing things that are not very valuable)
 Hijacking (forcing sb to take control of a vehicle, aircraft that is in the middle of a trip)
 Blackmail (threatening to harm sb unless the person doesn’t make the payment)
 Kidnapping (illegally taking a person away by force)
 Sexual harassment (offensive attention or suggestion)
 Bribery (the act of giving bribes)
 Corruption (dishonest, illegal behavior)
 Trespassing (entering sb’s property without permission)
 Robbery (stealing money from a bank especially using violence)
 Theft (the crime of stealing)
 Vandalism (intentionally damaging public or private property)
 Looting (stealing things from shops or homes that have been damaged in a war)
“If he has a conscience he will suffer for his
mistake. That will be punishment-as well as the

- Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, Ch.

B. Words and Phrases related to “Crime and Punishment”

 judge (n); judge (v); judgement (n)

 lawyer=attorney
 court
 jury
 client
 trial
 court case
 law; constitution
 execute (v); execution (n)
 intentionally=on purpose=deliberately
 catch sb red-handed; be caught red-handed
 crime=offence (n; criminal (n); commit a crime/an offence (v)
 investigate (v); police investigation (n)
 break out of prison=escape=run away=flee from
 be released from jail/prison
 accuse sb of=charge with=blame for
 fine (n); pay a fine (v); fine (v); to be fined=be given a fine (v)
 verdict (n); reach a verdict (v)
 witness=testifier (n); testimony (n); witness=testify (v)
 justice system; fair X unfair
 pass a law= make a law X abolish=do away with
 break the law=violate the law
 victim
 jail=prison (n); imprison=jail=put in prison (v)
 evidence=proof
 search for clues
 be punished with community service
 set sb free
 suspect sb of sth (v); suspicious (adj); the suspect (n)
 the accused=defendant=offender (n)
 pay compensation
 counterfeit=fake
 break into a building
 arrest sb for a crime=apprehend sb
 guilty X innocent
 plead guilty
 defend (v); defense (n)
 acquit sb of a crime X convict sb of a crime
 find sb guilty/innocent; be found guilty of a crime
 by force
 confess= admit X deny
 sentence=punishment=penalty
 sentence=punish (v); sentence sb to … years in prison
 prison sentence=imprisonment (n); sentence to imprisonment (v); to be given a prison sentence (v)
 sentence to death (v); death sentence=death penalty=capital punishment (n)
 life sentence
 corporal punishment
 cell
 ban=forbid=prohibit (v)
 sue=prosecute=put on trial
 probation
 detain (v); detention(n)
 hostage
 ransom
 kidnap=abduct (v)
 bribe
 rob (v); robber (n)
 thief (n); steal (v)
 murder (v); murderer (n)
 alimony (n)
“Punishment is lame, but it comes”

George Herbert

“Fear follows crime, and is its punishment”

C. Discussion questions
1. Which countries do you think have the most crime? Why do you think these
countries have more crime?
2. Which crimes are common in your country? What crimes do you think will
decrease and what crimes do you think will increase in the future? Do you
think that there will be more or less crime in the future?
3. Have you ever witnessed a crime?
4. Do you know anyone who has been a victim of a crime?
5. Under what circumstances would you think of committing a crime?
6. What do you think is the worst crime a person could commit? Why?
7. What makes some people become criminals? Is it poverty, lack of education,
unemployment or something else?
8. Why do we put people in jail? Is it to keep dangerous people away from
society? Do people come out of jail better people?
9. What is a "life sentence"? Should it literally mean "life"?
10. Should the death penalty exist as a punishment? Are you in favor of capital
punishment? What are the arguments for and against?
11. Is it a crime to try to kill yourself? What do you think of committing suicide?
12. In your country, is it against the law to use a cell phone while driving? Do you
think that the use of cell phones while driving should be illegal and punished
by law?
13. Surveillance cameras can be found in nearly every public place. Do you think
that they are necessary? Are there any drawbacks to surveillance cameras?
14. Many people download material such as films, music and TV programmes
illegally from the Internet. What do you think about it?
15. How strict should the law be with people who drink and drive?
16. Is television responsible in any way for crime? If so, in what way?
17. What about “good conduct”? Should people be allowed out early if they
behave themselves?
18. Are there any places you are afraid to visit because of the high crime rate? If
so, where?
19. What would you do if you heard a burglar in your house?
20. If two armed thieves break into a house, guns in hand, and the house-owner
has a gun, too. The house-owner shoots and kills one of them by mistake, is
he guilty of murder? Does he have a legal right to assault them with a
21. If a person steals a loaf of bread because he needs to feed his starving
family, should he be punished?
22. If I set a trap – a fifty-kilo weight just above the front door – for any burglars
who might try and enter the house, am I breaking the law?
23. After a divorce or legal separation, can a wife be required to pay alimony to
her ex-husband?
24. If a boy promises to marry his girl-friend and then change his mind shortly
before the wedding, can she take him to the court (Can she sue him)?
25. If as a defendant (accused), I am not satisfied with the way my attorney has
handled my defense, can I sue him?

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