“Kalief Browder may have hung himself, but he was killed by the brokenness of our court system.” This is an important reflection by Raj Jayadev.

Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project

by Raj Jayadev (This piece originally ran in the Huffington Post)

09browder-facebookjumbo-v2_large Kalief Browder

To call the death of 22-year-old Kalief Browder a suicide is not the full truth. Kalief Browder may have hung himself, but he was killed by the brokenness of our court system.

The story of his short life, told by Jennifer Gonnerman in The New Yorker last year, chronicles the horrors of a 16-year-old who was charged for a stealing a backpack, sent to the isolation and brutality of Rikers Island prison for three years, only for the charge to eventually be dropped by the prosecutor. Follow up articles report that Kalief was so profoundly haunted from his mental and physical abuse inside that upon his release, he was hospitalized and told his mother, “I can’t take it anymore.” Ultimately, he hung himself with an air-conditioner cord at his home this June.

The ubiquity of his…

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