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Jay Z Applauds NY Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Announcement To Close Rikers Island Prison
Jay Z, the executive producer of the the powerful “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” documentary on Netflix, applauded New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement Friday that the city plans on officially shutting down its Rikers Island prison facility. Check out the details below…
The rapper’s recent six-part documentary Time: The Kalief Browder Story focused on a 16-year-old Bronx kid who spent over 1,000 days in Rikers – many of them in solitary confinement – while awaiting trial for allegedly stealing a backpack.
Although the case was eventually dismissed, Browder took his own life at the age of 22, with the severe PTSD he suffered while imprisoned at Rikers cited as the main catalyst. Browder’s story led to an upheaval of the criminal justice system and served as a catalyst for de Blasio’s announcement Friday.
“Kalief is a prophet. His story will save lives,” Jay Z tweeted Friday alongside a Barack Obama quote. “You guys watching and your compassion made this happen. Thank you.”
At a March panel prior to the broadcast premiere of Time: The Kalief Browder Story, the rapper was optimistic that the documentary would instill some major changes.
“We put people in office; we make the laws,” Jay Z said. “These government officials? They work for us. They speak to us like we work for them, but we are the power. Three million people watched this the first week; we need it to be 20. We need everyone to be talking about this. That’s how this stops.”
When the documentary debuted at Sundance, Jay Z promised that Time “will save a lot of lives.”
On Friday, de Blasio said in a statement, “New York City will close the Rikers Island jail facility. It will take many years. It will take many tough decisions. But it will happen. The goal is to get our overall jail population down to 5,000 people. We believe that can be achieved in the next 10 years. The mass incarceration era did not begin in New York City but it’s going to end here.”
The mayor had previously been critical of the facility and its treatment of Browder, admitting in 2014, “Browder’s tragic story put a human face on Rikers Island’s culture of delay.” – via rollingstone
If you’ve been watching the Kalief Browder documentary on Netflix or know anything about the American prison system, you know that while this is a good first step, they’ll have to do a LOT more than just close Rikers Island to make any type of real change. Our justice system needs to be reformed from the ground up. The laws that allowed a teenager to be kept in jail for 3 years, the majority of which were in solitary confinement, over a stolen book bag need to be changed ASAP! The culture of the corrections department would also have to change and that means getting rid of corrupt corrections officers, their supervisors and their supervisor’s supervisors; which we know is never going to happen thanks to ridiculously strong unions who protect the worst of the worst. We applaud any attempt at justice reform but closing a facility without changing the internal issues which allow thisl type of facility to exist in the first place is just spraying perfume on top of sh** if you ask me. Let us know what YOU think?
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