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It is often a topic of debate whether education or imprisonment is more effective in reforming criminals. Should we punish them for their behavior or try to teach them the benefits of living within the law?

It is clear that we need to remove dangerous criminals from society for the safety of others. Nevertheless, some less serious offenders may not benefit from going to prison. Although they need to be punished in some way, mixing with other criminals might teach them new crimes, and these contacts may continue after they leave prison. A jail sentence is supposed to act as deterrent to further crime, but the statistics do not support this, as many offenders return to prison time after time.

The government has considered many alternatives such as tagging and community service, however, these have not proved to be much more effective. In my opinion, these schemes are simply a way for the government to save money as keeping a person in prison is very expensive. In spite of this, I think that for young offenders such as graffiti artists, such measures might be suitable. In the USA, offenders doing community service have to wear bright orange uniforms so that people know who they are. It may be true that this public shaming may help people to identify the criminals in future, yet believe it is unnecessary cruel.

On the whole, I would like to see the government focus its efforts on social education in schools, thus preventing young people from becoming criminals in the first place. Programs which require students to work together to solve a problem can teach them the benefits of building society rather than destroying it. I feel these projects should also take place outside the classroom, although they would need to be carefully supervised by specially trained people.

To sum up, I believe that prevention is better than cure, and that showing young people the advantages of cooperating with others is the key to preventing crime in our society.

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