The Guardian reports on the use of "anti-social behaviour orders" (ASBOs) in Manchester.

Since Asbos were introduced five years ago, Manchester has issued more than 300 orders - almost twice as many as any other city in the country - and has led the field not only in numbers, but in the imaginative audacity of its Asbos. Some orders have included a ban on riding a bicycle in the city centre, on meeting more than three non-family members in public, on wearing a balaclava in the street, on wearing a single golf glove. One Asbo received nationwide coverage in January for its ban on a 14-year-old boy saying the word "grass" anywhere in England or Wales until 2010, and in April a city magistrate served what was believed to be a first, banning a 16-year-old boy from misbehaving in school. If he disrupts a class, he can now be sent to prison.

The article is very long, but all of it is worth reading. Decca Aitkenhead tries to tackle both sides of the contentious issue - do ASBOs "restore the glue of society" in this modern, chaotic world? Or are they are an indefensible breach of civil liberties and freedom? As the article progresses, she does not focus as much on legal or moral justifications for ASBOs as detailed portrayals of the people they affect. A large proportion of the text deals with the Wards', a poor family that was forced to move when two of their seven children received an ASBO banning them from their neighborhood.

While I agree that the behavior of children who are receiving these orders is definitely wrong, I do not think that these ASBOs are needed to restrict their behavior. They seem more like cruel and unusual punishment than helping to reintegrate the children into society.