Jay Z, Harvey Weinstein, and Spike TV Highlight Need to Stop Solitary for Kids with Documentary Series
TIME: The Kalief Browder Story premiered on Spike TV on March 1, 2017 and aired every Wednesday at 10:00 PM ET through April 5, 2017 This documentary series follows the life of Kalief Browder, a sixteen year old arrested in the Bronx for allegedly stealing a backpack, who ends up in solitary confinement on Rikers Island without ever being found guilty of a crime. Tragically, the American criminal justice system failed Kalief at every turn.
“It’s unfortunately too late for my son, Kalief, but it will definitely benefit other youth so they won’t have to endure what my son did.” – Venida Browder
Kalief was incarcerated on Rikers Island for three years and spent over 700 days in solitary confinement before charges against him were ultimately dropped after 28 court hearings. Solitary confinement has permanent and devastating effects on youth, and Kalief was no exception. After being released, Kalief Browder took his own life at his home in the Bronx in 2015.
In October, 2016 at a press conference for the series, Jay-Z spoke specifically about the harms of solitary for young people. “I think it’s very clear that solitary confinement, for a 16-year-old, is wrong to every single person in here,” the Brooklyn rapper said. “It’s inhumane.”
Kalief’s mother, Venida Browder, was a powerful advocate for her son. Unfortunately, she passed away just days after the press event in October 2016. Ms. Browder emphasized the need for action so Kalief’s life was not lost in vain.
Kalief’s siblings are carrying on his legacy as vocal advocates for reforming the New York justice system. Below, Akeem, Deion, and Nicole Browder support their brother at a Washington, DC screening.