Family of Kalief Browder, young man who killed himself after jail, wins $3.3M from New York
Lawyers said Thursday that New York City will pay $3.3 million to the estate of a young man who killed himself after a three-year jail stint over a minor theft case that never went to trial.
Details of the deal between the city and the estate of Kalief Browder are still being hammered out, but they have settled on that dollar figure, according to the New York City Law Department and an attorney for the estate.
Browder's highly publicized case drew the attention of celebrities and helped spur calls for criminal justice reform.
Browder was just 16 when he was picked up in 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack and jailed at the notorious Rikers Island for what turned out to be three years, two of them in solitary confinement.
The case was dropped, and Browder was released. But he took his own life in 2015, due in part to the violence and psychological damage suffered at Rikers, family members said.
"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," according to a statement by the New York City Law Department.
"We hope this settlement and our continuing reforms help bring closure to the Browder family."
Browder's mother died a year and a half ago, but he is survived by six siblings and his father. The family will continue to push for jail reform to address issues of solitary confinement and younger inmates being kept with older ones, according to family lawyer Scott Rynecki.
“The family views this as a step toward closure. However, they are still looking forward to additional changes being made” to the jail system, Rynecki told NBC News.
Browder's story gained national attention after an article in The New Yorker magazine and a docuseries produced by Jay-Z.
The city has announced plans to close Rikers Island by 2027.
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