Tagging and restorative justice
Sep 21, 2009
A recent story caught my eye. According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles tagger Cyrus Yazdani, who goes by Buket, has been sentenced to 3 years and 8 months for his tagging efforts.
This is not the first time this notorious tagger has been caught and fined. Yazdani, a 26-year old college graduate from San Jose State, is a prolific tagger who does his tagging in broad daylight. The amount of damage caused by Yazdani's graffiti is in the range of $150,000. And that's got to be on the low side. Most of the damage has been done in Los Angeles; authorities say he's tagged hundreds of freeway overpasses. Is this a fair and just sentence? What do you do with a serial tagger? How would a justice system based on the principles of restorative justice see this case?
....The serial tagger has been sentenced to almost four years in prison. What will Yazdani be like when he is released? Most would agree that he'll be more likely to re-offend. Those involved in this case (law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges) were probably very frustrated and unsure what to do with this man. But stopping crime and interrupting repeat crime requires new ways of responding. Restorative justice is that response.