kalief browder
Kalief Browder’s story shocked many and it also highlighted the things that go unnoticed within the justice system. Kalief was arrested at sixteen after being accused of stealing a backpack. He spent three years in a Rikers Island jail cell without a trial, before being released in May 2013. The charges were dismissed but the psychological damage stuck with him and now two years later he has committed suicide.

Kalief Browder was held three years without trial starting in 2010. The Bronx teen told his story and seemed eager to continue his life after his horrifying stay at Rikers Island. Browder maintained his innocence and explained that he only stayed in jail that long because his family couldn’t afford his $10,000 bail. He then reveal that he spent two out of the three years in solitary confinement and was brutally beaten while being held. In the video below Browder is seen getting beaten and mistreated by correctional officers as well as other inmates. Browder never received a trial for his alleged crime and was ultimately released after his case was dismissed three years later. Browder admitted to attempting suicide several times as a result of mistreatment in Rikers. He was denied meals, showers, medical attention and even received false disciplinary infractions which extended his stay in solitary confinement.

It was reported that the 22-year old couldn’t escape the psychological damage obtained within the three years spent in prison. According to Jennifer Gommerman, “He almost recreated the conditions of solitary, shutting himself in his bedroom for long periods. He was very uncomfortable being around people, especially in large groups”. Browder was trying to piece his life back together but just couldn’t. Last Christmas he was hospitalized at a psychiatric ward and suffered from paranoia. On Saturday, Kalief Browder hung himself outside a window in his Bronx family home.

This is a tragic end to an outrageous story, but it also places emphasis on the mistreatment of inmates within the justice system. The justice department is expected to put in place a plan to end the “barbaric abuse” that occures in Rikers Island Correctional Facilities. All of which will be too late to save Kalief Browder. Our prayers go out to his family. May he rest in peace.

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