Teen's death brings calls for criminal justice reform

Kalief Browder, 21, took his own life after spending almost three years at Rikers Island awaiting trial on charges that were eventually dropped.

Kalief Browder, 21, took his own life after spending almost three years at Rikers Island awaiting trial on charges that were eventually dropped.

Kalief Browder, 21, took his own life after spending almost three years at Rikers Island awaiting trial on charges that were eventually dropped. (6/8/15)

THE BRONX - A young man who spent almost three years at Rikers Island without ever going to trial has taken his own life at the age of 21.

Kalief Browder's story first came to light in a story featured in the New Yorker. At 16, Browder was arrested on robbery charges and remained in jail for years without ever going to trial. The charges were eventually dropped. A video obtained by the New Yorker showed the physical abuse Browder endured.

Browder took his own life Saturday at his home. 

The president of the Bronx Clergy Criminal Justice Roundtable has been calling for reform of the criminal justice system for years. He says kids should never have to wait in jail the way Browder did.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says Browder's story has prompted efforts on Rikers Island that will ensure that no New Yorker spends years in jail waiting for their day in court. He says Browder's death is a reminder that more work is needed to provide the mental health services that so many New Yorkers need.

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