Interviewer: A judge in Manchester sentenced two young men to 10 months’ youth detention for tagging, that is spraying their signatures onto buildings, trains and bridges. He said he hoped it would deter others. I went to one of London’s graffiti hotspots to ask people if jail was the best way to deal with such problems.
Speaker one
Graffiti is a positive form of expression and I believe it does in fact brighten up the grey concrete urban environment. I think it’s a wasted talent and by no means should incur a custodial sentence. Give the young people somewhere to be more creative, hold competitions. Why shouldn’t the place be colourful?
Speaker two
Tagging should be punished, it has no artistic qualities and it makes a mess of the environment in which it exists. In our area, you see the same few tags time and time again on any available surface. If left, it suggests that anti-social behaviour is tolerated here. People then start to feel unsafe. Older people in particular find graffiti very upsetting.
Speaker three
Of course they should be jailed. It really does make my blood boil when people suggest that tagging brightens up a grim, grey street. As with anything in life, if you don’t own it, don’t abuse it. I have no problem with art of any description, but it should be done on or in private property. If not, you are clearly an offender and you should be dealt with accordingly. If we excuse this because it ‚looks nice’ where will it end?
Speaker four
Sending someone to jail for vandalism seems a bit harsh to me. The punishment has to fit the crime. It might be more useful to society if they were made to clean up the mess at their own cost. Make the taggers clean up double the area that they tagged and do something useful for the community. They should also be warned that if they are caught again then the punishment will be double the area that they cleaned the last time.
Adapted from: www.news.bbc.co. uk

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