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JULY 21, 2011: Peg's Blogs on Hiatus...

As many friends and regular readers know, I've been dealing with a lot in my personal life, lately, while my workload has continued to grow. Rest assured that I'm in the best of company, and getting by with a little help from my friends. Still, I need to take a break and focus on centering myself. That means this site will be neglected even more than it has been.

Until I'm able to get a grip on blogging regularly and thoughtfully again here (or until someone else steps in to anchor the site), I encourage people to check out Carl Toersbijns' blog (he's a former Deputy Warden for the AZ Department of Corrections, and while not an abolitionist, he's a strong advocate for the prisoners with mental illness, and for broad-based prison reform in AZ). You may also want to drop in on Middle Ground Prison Reform's site for news.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tagging gets teen a year in juvie prison: for less than $5,000 in damages..

What a tragic way to order a community's priorities. Does no one have any creative, original thoughts on how to work with artistic youth acting out through vandalism? Like having him paint some murals, or put together an art show, or channel that energy more constructively somehow? He could be working off that restitution at a part time job, too.

Do these judges even know what kind of hell they send those kids to when they commit them to the Department of Juvenile Corrections? The gangs, the violence, the bullying, the despair? A year is a huge chunk to take out of a young person's life. They aren't rehabilitating him - they just sent him there to be punished.

A year in youth prison (which just prepares kids for many years in adult prisons) is going to cost the state more than five times as much to cover as the damage this kid did, and in the process subjects him to constant coercion. For what? To make an example of him.
I guess that means that any other kids who go tagging around town can expect to go to prison, too.

The biggest example I see being displayed here is of a rigid and abusive judge and city attorney. That's an example of what not to be like when you grow up, kids. I'd take the tagger as my friend over the people who put him away any day.

Tagging is not a violent crime, by the way. It is a nuisance. Incarceration is violent, however. Prisons keep their prisoners only because they have the authority to chain you up, lock you down, and even kill you if you try to run away. Sometimes people die in there well before their time. They aren't too good at keeping people from killing themselves or each other.

This isn't justice - it smacks more of vindictiveness and abuse.
Guess it's amazing they didn't prosecute him as an adult so they could really draw blood.


Yuma tagger sent to prison for a year

September 29, 2010 5:44 PM

The 17-year-old juvenile tagger known by the moniker of “SKREW,” who caused thousands of dollars in damage in graffiti in Yuma, has been sentenced to a year at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.

Manuel Villa, who is estimated to have caused between $4,000 and $5,000 in graffiti damage to residential and business structures, was sentenced recently to serve until his 18th birthday in juvenile corrections. He was also ordered to pay more than $2,000 in restitution.

The Yuma Police Department began seeking “SKREW” in early April as part of Yuma Mayor Al Krieger's new campaign to curtail unwanted graffiti and vandalism, dubbed TAGS (The Anti Graffiti Strategy). It includes stepped-up enforcement, more education, an awareness campaign and enhanced partnerships between city departments and other government agencies, schools, retailers and community groups such as 78-CRIME and Neighborhood Watch organizations.

According to YPD, “SKREW” had been actively tagging his moniker since the summer of 2009 to city of Yuma property, several residential properties, a bridge and at least two churches.

After the city of Yuma announced TAGS, YPD turned to the public to help identify him.

After receiving tips that “SKREW” may live in the Carver Park area, which was supported by the numerous incidents of graffiti throughout the area over the past year, YPD canvassed the neighborhood and contacted Villa in May.

After being confronted with overwhelming evidence, Villa confessed and was arrested.

“We now have an example of consequences for vandalism and graffiti damage,” said Dave Nash, spokesman for the city of Yuma.

Nash said so far this fiscal year, city crews have cleaned up 633 incidents of graffiti. For the week of Sept. 15-21, there were 71 reported incidents of graffiti, compared with 93 last week, an increase that is common for this time of year.

“We tend to see seasonal spikes this time of year when people come to Yuma,” Nash said.

Nash added that graffiti incidents range between 70 and 80 week to as low as 30 a week.

The city of Yuma encourages the community to keep up their effort in cracking down on graffiti by calling the Graffiti Busters hot line at 329-2828.

James Gilbert can be reached at or 539-6854.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dearest Peggy,
You know, you would think those who make the harsh laws regarding juvie children would actually be knowledgeable or at least proactive prior to throwing a child away. Theoretical and/or speculative thinking would at least open the eyes of society to provide alternative ways to give children that tag a location to express their artistic talents. Having said that, I already know someone shall respond to this post as it is saying it is not talent, it is children in gangs destroying property, period. I would like to address this on one level, these children are NOT gang members, they call themselves Crews, they do not gang-bang, they truly believe in their ability to paint/et al. I am very knowledgeable on the gang culture and am not walking around with rose colored glasses on. I am against destroying personal property on all levels as well as city property. Give these children a location to express their tagging in a constructive way. Children that are acting out/going against the law are searching for something, love.I do not have a great deal of faith in the juvie system, I have very little faith in the DOC/Juvie system which I will address on a different blog. I very much appreciate you Peggy for your passion for doing the right thing to help those who are incarcerated as you are the voice that speaks when they cannot. Thank you for your voice. Respectfully, Victoria Seeger