FISTA, Sheffield, UK

Date: 1996.

Punishment: Five years in prison.

UK writer FISTA gained international attention when he received a five-year sentence for graffiti in 1996. At the time it was considered a remarkably heavy punishment.

City councillor Francis Butler originally tried to discourage FISTA from writing with a concerted clean-up effort. But once it became apparent that was only making him more prevalent, Butler took to the radio with a plea for FISTA's true identity. A bunch of people came through with a government name, and FISTA received the kind of punishment that one article called "a public hanging, to deter others."

Butler felt regret about the sentence's severity. He told The Independent: "I'm aware that we're not a listening society and that there are no conventional outlets for people who are disadvantaged to express themselves artistically.

FISTA was released after a year.