Kalief Browder, who was accused of stealing a backpack, spent three years on Rikers Island without being tried or convicted—and about two of those years were spent in solitary confinement. New York City has reached a $3.3 million settlement with his family. “There is no reason he should have gone through this ordeal,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “and his tragic death is a reminder that we must continue to work each day to provide the mental health services so many New Yorkers need.”
The New York Times: Kalief Browder’s Suicide Brought Changes To Rikers. Now It Has Led To A $3 Million Settlement.
New York City has agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle a lawsuit on behalf of the estate of Kalief Browder, the young Bronx man whose detention on Rikers Island became a symbol of the breakdown in criminal justice in New York and fueled the drive to ban solitary confinement for youths in the city’s jails. Mr. Browder, who was 16 years old when he was arrested in 2010 and accused of stealing a backpack, was detained on Rikers Island for three years — about two of which were spent in solitary confinement — without being tried or convicted of a crime. In 2015, at age 22, he hanged himself at his parents’ home in the Bronx. (Weiser, 1/24)
NPR: New York City Reaches $3.3 Million Settlement With Kalief Browder’s Family
Nearly two of Browder’s three years in jail were spent in solitary confinement. Upon his release in 2015, plagued by what he said was the mental anguish and trauma from his time in jail he hanged himself in his mother’s home. “Kalief Browder’s story helped inspire numerous reforms to the justice system to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again, including an end to punitive segregation for young people on Rikers Island,” Nichaolas Paolucci, a spokesman for the city law department told NPR in an emailed statement. (Romo, 1/25)
In other mental health news —
The Washington Post: D.C. Charter School Did Not Do Enough To Prevent Child’s Suicide, Family Says In Lawsuit
The family of a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide last year at a troubled D.C. charter school sued the school Thursday, saying it did not do enough to prevent her death after she told staff she was contemplating killing herself. On Jan. 23, 2018, Stormiyah Denson-Jackson, a 12-year-old student at SEED Public Charter School in Southeast, committed suicide in her dormitory, according to the lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court. (Moyer, 1/24)
Denver Post: Two Colorado Students From Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Die By Suicide
The Ute Mountain Ute and Cortez communities in the Four Corners region are grieving this week after two middle school students died by suicide over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, the latest in a growing crisis that has Colorado leaders desperately searching for solutions. Jeit Redrock Height, 15, and Andrew William Cuch Jr., 14, both were lifelong residents of Towaoc, a town of fewer than 1,100 people on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, said ReeAnna Mills, a spokeswoman for the tribal administration. (Tabachnik, 1/24)
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