The story of Kalief Browder is one that Rand Paul has told many times, but unfortunately, the ending is now quite different. The young man, only 22 years old, committed suicide at his parents’ home this past Saturday.
Browder was sent to Rikers Island when he was 16 because he allegedly stole a backpack. Because his family could not make bail, Kalief Browder spent three years of his life at Rikers, until finally his case was dismissed. Too little, too late, regrettably.
The only hope now is that his death will mean something in the long run and that it will lead to a reform of the country’s failing justice system.
At least this is what the Republican 2016 presidential hopeful Rand Paul is aiming for when he spoke of the young man at CPAC:
“We should have speedy trials in our country. Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old boy accused of a crime. He’s from the Bronx. He’s an African-American kid from the Bronx. Accused of a crime, he was sent to Rikers. He spent three years in Rikers. He was never tried. He tried to commit suicide four times. If you ask Kalief Browder and you ask his mom or you ask anybody that lives around him in the Bronx whether or not the Bill of Rights is being defended – he lives in that other American that Martin Luther King talked about.”(Bloomberg)
With the REDEEM Act, thousands of Americans who were convicted of nonviolent crimes would be given a fresh start. It would also limit juvenile solitary confinement. Kalief Browder spent two years in solitary confinement at Rikers and was forever changed because of his experiences. It’s been over two months since Sens. Paul and Booker pushed for the REDEEM Act, but incidents like the one with Browder are still happening.
Written by Vladimir Covic; Edited by staff
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