The American "Justice" System
Black people make up 38.5% of inmates while only making up 13.6% of the U.S. population.
Khalif Browder was incarcerated in Rikers Island between 2010 and 2013, spending 700 days in solitary confinement for allegedly stealing a backpack with valuables. He ended his life in his mother’s home. He took his own life on June 6, 2015, at 22.
He was incarcerated for years on a nominal charge with no evidence to indicate his guilt other than a bias towards him as a Black man. He was subjected to carceral violence. On October 20, 2010, a gang member spat in Browder's face. Later in the day, Browder punched the gang leader and was set upon by fifteen gang members. Browder spent nearly two years in solitary confinement, mainly after fights with inmates. Browder later said that correction officers beat him while showering in solitary confinement. He said a verbal confrontation with a guard would escalate into a physical altercation.
"Their noses were leaking; their faces were bloody; their eyes were swollen" - Khalif Browder. The guards threatened the inmates with solitary confinement if they reported their injuries.
His story is not foreign to me. My brother spent most of his adult life incarcerated, much of it in solitary confinement and maximum security, locked in his cell 23 hours per day. I know the stories about correctional officers beating up inmates, including my brother.
My brother suffers from mental illness. He wasn’t in control of his actions but was punished as if he was. I’m not making excuses for him, but I am saying that the Justice system was not set up to “rehabilitate,” Quite the opposite, it sent him into a cycle of incarceration and deteriorating mental health. He lost his life to the “justice” system. Khalif Browder lost his life to the Justice system.
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