BY JIDE TAIWO
Hip-hop legend Jay Z is teaming up with film studios Weinstein Company to produce a series of television documentaries, the first of which takes a look at the case of Kalief Browder, a young black American who was falsely arrested and jailed without charges for three years.
Browder was 16 years old when he was arrested on suspicion of stealing a backpack and sent to the Rikers Island prison in New York for three years. He was kept in solitary confinement for 800 days and, according to his lawyer, beaten by inmates and guards.
His story made national headlines after it was told in detail in a New Yorker article in October 2014. The national exposure of his case became the impetus for proposed reforms in the New York City criminal justice system.
In June 2015, however, Browder committed suicide by hanging himself. The conditions of his detention were widely seen as having caused his mental condition as well as six prior attempts at suicide while he was incarcerated. He was only 22 years old.
Jay Z, attending a press conference on Thursday with Kalief Browder’s mother, the film-makers and Weinstein, said he hoped Browder’s story ‘inspires others and saves other lives. I think it’s very clear that solitary confinement for a 16-year-old is wrong to every single person in here,’ he said. ‘It’s inhumane.’
Last month, the rapper wrote a powerful piece in the New York Times on the war drugs being a failure and how black Americans get jailed for what whites profit from.
This post first appeared on NET