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Kalief Browder: Man Wrongly Imprisoned In Rikers Island Jail (New York) Commits Suicide!

Updated on June 9, 2015

Is prison a place to torture the incarcerated?

Could you imagine being locked up for three years on charges you did not commit? That is exactly what happened to a young man named Kalief Browder. He was wrongly arrested and spent 3 years on a $10,000 bond for supposedly stealing a backpack back in Spring 2010. I have never in my entire life heard of such harsh punishments. Kalief was starved by guards, beat by fellow inmates, and abused by guards as well. But the most disturbing thing I have learned from this truly unfortunate event is, of the 3 years he spent locked up nearly 2 years locked up in solitary confinement. I alone just can't quite understand how a young man who was not convicted spent three years in prison.

Kalief Browder reliving his horrible ordeal!

While behind the walls!

While inside Rikers island Kalief pushed for something better then gang affiliation and nonsense. He earned the equivalence to a High School Diploma while wrongly incarcerated. Yet no matter what he tried to do right it always seemed wrong in other inmates eyes. Videos currently circulating the web show Mr. Browder being abused by not only a on guard officer, but multiple (between 10-15) inmates at a time. But out of all the things that he endured while in Rikers Island, many believe that solitary confinement was what pushed him over the top. Just imagine a very small cell you would have to sit in for 23 out of 24 hours a day. While in this cell Kalief was starved by guards and had mice running through his sheets as he slept. This pushed him to his breaking point and he started to attempt suicide. This does not sound like a prison but yet an ancient torture chamber to me. Finally with over 1,000 days spent in this jail Kalief Browder was finally released after contact with the only witness was lost. All charges were dropped and he was released in 2013.

After his release from Rikers Island.

After Mr. Browder was released from Rikers Island he started to attend community college for months at a time maintaining a 3.5 gpa. He would ride his bicycle to and from school. Though free from the prison Kalief struggled with everyday life. With living conditions similar to his life on Rikers Island, locking himself up for long periods of time in his room. And eventually trying to kill himself within his own home. After his attempt he was sent to a psychiatric ward in New York not to far from his house, and was released two weeks later. After his release from the island his life changed he became very paranoid and had to make sure all the windows in his house were locked before he slept. He would not take the subway, and was just not use to everyday life anymore. It is reported that he threw out his brand new TV because he said "It was watching him". Kalief's story also reached bigger names such as Rose O'Donnell, and Jay Z. Both of which he had the privilege of spending time with. Rose presented a gift to Kalief to in my guess help with his school work a Mac book Air. And an anonymous person offered to pay his community college tuition after hearing his story. He never had the option to graduate college as he eventually just stopped going again and was later admitted to the psychiatric ward near his Bronx New York home. After his release this time Mr. Browder spoke with his mother saying "Ma, I can't take it anymore." And she replied "Kalief, you’ve got a lot of people in your corner." The next day Kalief took his own life. He planned to take his own life with strips of his yellow bed sheets but figured they were not strong enough. And eventually went to a room near his pushed out the air conditioning unit, wrapped a cord around his neck and went out the window feet first. No one was home at the time of the incident but his mother. She initially heard a loud thump noise she could not explain until she went out her back door to find her youngest of seven children had hung himself.

Should the way we punish inmates awaiting trial change?

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