After one teenager’s freedom years were stripped away for a crime he did not commit, he is having his three year unjust prison sentence story produced by one of the biggest names in music.
Hip-hop mogul Jay Z is using his platform to bring awareness to the unjust ‘justice’ system as well as the psychological damage caused by the criminal justice system. He is teaming up with the Weinstein Company to bring a six-part series set to air on Spike TV in January 2017 titled 'TIME: The Kalief Browder Story'.
Arrested at the age of 16, Kalief Browder was charged with second degree robbery, on false accusations of allegedly stealing a backpack. Browder refused to take a plea admitting to a crime that he did not commit so was sent to Riker’s Island to await trial (that never came).
Of his three year imprisonment, he endured two years (almost 800 days) in solitary confinement where he attempted to end his life on numerous occasions as well as being brutally attacked and beaten by inmates and prison guards. After three years his case was eventually dismissed, Browder was released in 2013 but later took his own life in 2015.
According to Huffington post.com Jay Z stated, “Kalief’s [story] is a kind of story you can’t ignore”.
His story caught the attention of many celebrities and activist’s as well sparking attention on a national level causing President Barack Obama to announce an executive order by choosing to eliminate solitary confinement for minors in the prison system. Jay Z credited Browder’s experience with helping to make that difference.
It is believed that this documentary is set to provide a better look into Browder’s traumatic ordeal through a first-person account. The documentary will revolve around people that were directly connected to his story, as well as eye-opening archival footage.
Browder’s mother took the stage as part of the panel along with Jay Z to discuss the vision and the importance of his story that will hopefully continue to spur change in our justice system.