June 3, 2016
The results of Policing and Incarcerating for profit.
Kalief Browder, who spent three years in jail in New York without ever being convicted of a crime, took his own life nearly one year ago, on June 6, 2015. In 2010, when Kalief was just 16, he was sent to Rikers Island on suspicion of stealing a backpack. He spent the next nearly three years imprisoned at Rikers, even though he was never tried or convicted. For nearly 800 days of that time, he was held in solitary confinement. A new piece in The New Yorker details how Kalief actually learned how to commit suicide at Rikers, after seeing another prisoner attempt to take his own life. The piece also details how, before taking his own life, Kalief recounted prison guards goading him on during suicide attempts, saying, “If you don’t jump, we’re going to go in there anyway, so you might as well go ahead and jump, go ahead and jump.” We speak with reporter and author Jennifer Gonnerman, who first recounted Kalief Browder’s story in 2014 in her article for The New Yorker, “Before the Law: A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life.” In her latest piece, Gonnerman details Browder’s experiences with suicide attempts at Rikers. “His description of Rikers and his time on Rikers was almost as if it were a school for suicide,” Gonnerman says. More at Democracy Now