The family of Kalief Browder is receiving some form of justice for his senseless death by way of a new law created in his honor.
The African-American teen spent three years in New York City’s infamous Rikers Island jail complex after he was wrongfully accused of stealing a backpack in 2012. The then-16 year old was forced to remain behind bars for longer than intended due to his family not being able to afford his bail. During his time at Rikers, Kalief was subjected to two years in solitary confinement, brutal beatings by both guards and fellow inmates and even starvation.
Kalief’s case was eventually dismissed, but the effects of his horrific experiences in jail while awaiting trial ultimately led him to sink into a depression and later commit suicide in 2015.
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio ruled that no 16 or 17 year old would spend time in solitary confinement back in December of 2015, and the New York State Assembly has since echoed his sentiments with the recent passage of “Kalief’s Law” in early June. The law is viewed by many as a step towards pretrial detention reform and is intended to “improve the effectiveness of the state’s criminal justice system, ensuring that people aren’t unjustly held in pretrial detention for longer than needed,” according to the Amsterdam News.
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