New York City will pay $3.3 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the estate of Kalief Browder, the teen who spent two years in solitary confinement at Rikers Island without ever being convicted of a crime before later committing suicide in his parents’ home, The New York Times reports Thursday. Browder’s tragic story began when he was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack. He spent three years at Rikers—two of those in solitary—without ever being formally tried or convicted. Months after his release, Browder hanged himself in his parents’ home at the age of 22—sparking nationwide outrage and calls for prison reform.
When then-President Barack Obama banned the solitary confinement of juveniles in federal prisons, he cited Browder’s “constant struggle to recover from the trauma of being locked up alone for 23 hours a day” as inspiration for the ban. “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,” the Law Department said Thursday. “We hope that this settlement and our continuing reforms help bring some measure of closure to the Browder family.”