We all hear stories about American court systems, for better or worse we can all agree there are some major flaws and injustices. Here is one story about Kalief Browder who was sent to Rikers Island when he was 16 years old, accused of stealing a backpack. Though he never stood trial or was found guilty of any crime his family was unable to raise his $10,000 bail. Browder withered away at Rikers Island where he tried to commit suicide and spent more than 400 days in solitary confinement. Kalief said he endured beatings by officers and other inmates. Up to twenty inmates were recorded 'jumping' him as two officers attempted to break up the severe beating. Eventually, in 2013, his case was dismissed but as Browder told the New Yorker, he emerged from the ordeal broken.
"People tell me because I have this case against the city I'm all right," he told the magazine. "But I'm not all right. I'm messed up. I know that I might see some money from this case, but that's not going to help me mentally. I'm mentally scarred right now. That's how I feel. Because there are certain things that changed about me and they might not go back."
The Times reports:
" 'I think what caused the suicide was his incarceration and those hundreds and hundreds of nights in solitary confinement, where there were mice crawling up his sheets in that little cell,' Prestia said in a phone interview Sunday evening. 'Being starved, and not being taken to the shower for two weeks at a time ... those were direct contributing factors. ... That was the pain and sadness that he had to deal with every day, and I think it was too much for him.'
"Prestia then became emotional, his voice wavering as he recalled Browder, whom he said hadn't had mental health problems before he was arrested and jailed in 2010.
" 'He was a good friend of mine — I wasn't just his attorney, you know?' Prestia went silent for a few seconds, then continued: 'He was a really good kid.' "