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Chicago Teens Who Can’t Make Bail Languish in Prison for Yea
Thu Jul 23, 2015 03:46

Chicago Teens Who Can’t Make Bail Languish in Prison for Years
Kalief Browder committed suicide after having spent years in New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison awaiting trial. A Freedom of Information Request byprison man WhoWhatWhy reveals that New York isn’t the only place where teenagers languish in prison awaiting trial:

A Freedom of Information Act request revealed that dozens of detainees who were under the age of 18 when they were booked have been incarcerated for more than two years—simply because they couldn’t post bail while awaiting trial. Thirty one juveniles have been held for at least two years and another 33 have been awaiting their trial in jail for more than a year. Twelve have been in detention for three years or more.

According to the investigation, many of these teens remain in jail because they cannot afford bail. The Chicago Cooke County Sheriff’s office revealed that “it is fair to assume that individuals in the jail who remain in custody despite being given a cash bond are unable to afford to post the required amount.”

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of all citizens to a speedy trial, so one fails to understand how allowing teens to remain in jail for years doesn’t violate the Constitution.

Kalief Browder, accused of stealing a backpack, was 16 when he was arrested and spent three years in Rikers Island prison before the charges against him were finally dismissed.

In an interview with The New Yorker, Browder recalled being told by a guard that inmates had to wash their own clothes, and also being abused by other inmates.

“A lot of times, I’d say, ‘I’m not sitting on the floor,’ ” Browder said. “And then they’ll come with five or six dudes. They’d swing on me. I’d have to fight back.”

Browder spent three years behind bars before the charges against him were finally dismissed. He later committed suicide.

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