Thursday, 15 March 2018

CPE 2018 Essay Sample Capital Punishment


Dear Gustavo, 

My name is Evangelos and I'm a Greek student who is going to sit for the CPE exam on this May. So, I would be so grateful if you don't mind casting an eye over my piece of writing (it's the part 1: essay composition, and you'll find it attached in doc format). 
I'm looking forward to your feedback. 
Thank you in advance. 
Yours sincerely,
Evangelos 


CPE Writing: Essay

Task: The two extracts given regard capital punishment and are the followings:

Extract 1: Killing for nothing
Under no circumstances can capital punishment be condoned. It is a barbaric form of punishment, which serves no useful purpose as it obviously does not act as a deterrent. In the USA, for example, the use of capital punishment increased greatly during the eighties and nineties, but with no corresponding effect on the crime rate. Another argument says that it effectively deals with people who are a danger to society. But in any case, they spend years, even decades, on death row while their appeals are used up, and might as well just be sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

Extract 2: Innocents die
The system by which people are convicted is simply not as foolproof as some people would have us believe, and the odds against an innocent person being killed are just too high. While the risk of this happening remains a very real possibility, the death sentence is unacceptable. In this age of DNA evidence many people in American prisons awaiting execution have been found to be innocent. The other problem is prejudice. Even if a person is found guilty and convicted of a crime, they are likely to get a worse sentence if they are from an ethnic minority, and a disproportionately large number of these people are executed every year in the States.

My piece of writing

Feedback: write a title

Over the last years, changes in many countries’ legal system have come a long way in an attempt to comply with the requirements of basic human rights. Nonetheless, the implementation of capital punishment still remains a controversial issue. Both texts deal with the effectiveness of such a cruel form of penalisation and provide different accounts on the subject. (Feedback: maybe save the word "cruel" for your conclusion)


The first extract argues that death penalty cannot does not discourage people from committing crimes, as it is has been proved by a number of experiences in countries where the levels of criminality do anything but plummet. In fact, I tend to believe that the prospect of a death sentence can provide an open invitation to more criminal acts: if someone is going to be convicted to death, why should they not commit another offence? Arguably, while there are also those who would argue that capital punishment does justice to those who have committed serious crimes, this attitude seems to me primitive, engaging us in a vicious cycle of revenge; instead, life imprisonment would perfectly compensate for grave illegal acts. (Feedback: last sentences is too long/ difficult to read )

In the second paragraph it is suggested that given that legal system tends to be fallible —in as much as the human factor is concerned— there should be no room for such irrevocable verdicts; what would happen on the off-chance a defendant is found innocent? To make matters worse, there are lots of preconceptions surrounding some sorts of defendants, e.g. racial or social discriminations, which make them be liable to heavier penalties. Additionally, one instance proving the contradictory character of legal system is that whilst in the US capital punishment holds sway, the use of firearms license is extensive.  (Ideally use the same number of lines in both paragraphs)

All things considered, it seems to me that capital punishment is an inhumane practice, which should be eliminated from all liberal countries. Far from seeking revenge for its own sake, legal system should act with an eye to reforming offenders by having a rehabilitative function.