Akeem Browder, whose brother Kalief Browder took his own life...

Akeem Browder, whose brother Kalief Browder took his own life after spending 1,000 days behind bars at Rikers Island, spoke in Albany on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday / Yancey Roy

ALBANY — Three months ago, Akeem Browder said it was an “honor” to have the story of his brother Kalief told at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s State of the State address and to have officials vow to change the criminal justice system.

Now, it would be “disheartening” for those promises to be left out of the state budget.

“It’s time that we stopped making empty promises,” Browder said Tuesday as advocates tried to put some last-minute pressure on Cuomo and state legislators to end cash bail for certain crimes and to change laws about prosecutors’ disclosing evidence to defense attorneys.

With lawmakers trying to agree on and approve a budget by Friday, many are saying the criminal-justice reforms are likely to be omitted.

Kalief Browder’s story has been a focal point for advocates. He was arrested at 16 for stealing a backpack and awaited trial for nearly three years at the Rikers Island jail because his family couldn’t afford bail. Nearly two of those years were spent in solitary confinement. Ultimately, prosecutors dropped the charges. But Browder reportedly struggled after release and committed suicide at age 22 in 2015.

Cuomo had Akeem Browder, 35, as one of his guests at his State of the State address in January, calling him out by name and saying “Your brother did not die in vain.”

Browder said advocates have been pushing lawmakers — especially the Republican-led Senate — to take action. They also don’t want Cuomo to give up the issue in negotiations.

“They all under Kalief’s story and they understand how [ending cash] bail would have helped his situation,” Akeem Browder said, “but we want to see it in a reform bill.”