Young Man Who Spent 3 Years at Rikers Island as a Teen Without Being Convicted Kills Himself

Kalief Browder 
Kalief Browder 

Kalief Browder, 22, who struggled with readjusting to society after being jailed at New York City’s Rikers Island for three unexplained years without a conviction or even a trial, has died, the New Yorker reports.

The young man reportedly ended his life over the weekend after pulling out an air conditioner in one of the bedrooms in his family home and pushing himself through the hole in the wall, feetfirst, with a cord around his neck, the news site reported.

As the site notes, the young man spent more than 1,000 days at the notorious correctional facility as a teen awaiting a trial that never happened for a crime he insisted he never committed.


While at Rikers, the young man was placed in solitary confinement for roughly two years and was reportedly abused by guards and inmates alike. During his time in the jail, Browder reportedly attempted to end his life multiple times.

Upon his release in November 2013, the teen attempted suicide again, causing him to be admitted into the psychiatric ward at St. Barnabas Hospital. His family described the young man as paranoid and suspected that cops or other authorities were after him.

The night before his death, he reportedly told his mother, “I can’t take it anymore.”

She responded, “Kalief, you’ve got a lot of people in your corner.”

The young man had been open about his arrest and subsequent mistreatment, hoping, as the New Yorker notes, to spare others the treatment he went through. He is credited with prompting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to attempt to reform the court system to prevent the delays that kept the young man imprisoned for the last of his teen years.

Read more at the New Yorker.

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