Mourning Raheem Hatter: Another Life Stolen While Caged in Cook County Jail

On June 14th, 2022, Raheem Hatter lost his life while caged inside Cook County Jail. He was found unresponsive on the floor of his cell with severe injuries to his head. His death was ruled a homicide; he was just 24 years old. Raheem’s case has not been handled with transparency or integrity. As Raheem’s family told Liberation news, the Sheriff did not inform them about Raheem’s death when it happened; rather, they learned about it through social media. Just days after his death, Raheem’s family gathered with community members outside Cook County Jail to hold a press conference and demand justice for Raheem. 

While we do not know the exact details of what happened to Raheem, we do know that the inhumane conditions of incarceration continually breed violence and inflict death and other severe harms on people who are caged, like Raheem. Even more devastating is the fact that Raheem was only incarcerated because he could not afford to pay a bond of $1500. The majority of people in Cook County Jail are similarly there because they cannot afford to pay their money bonds.

A system where the amount of money you have makes the difference between caging and freedom, or worse, between life and death, should not exist. Raheem’s tragic death is a direct result of the harms that are perpetuated by pretrial incarceration. His passing is a stark reminder of why communities have organized to get Illinois to end the money bond system and drastically reduce pretrial jailing. Through and beyond the end of money bond in 2023, we must continue to fight to end pretrial incarceration, which ruins and ends the lives of our people every year. 

CCBF sends Raheem’s family and community our love and support, and we continue our daily work to build spaces of care and safety for people impacted by the pretrial legal system in Illinois.

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