Man Who Only Owed $2 In Bail Sat In Jail For Five Months

by
Isabella Ohlmeyer
A man who lives in Queens, New York, spent five months at Rikers Island jail after he was told he owed $25,000 in bail, when he only owed $2.

One of the many, severe problems with the justice system in the United States is misinforming inmates of their correct bail amount they need to pay the court. 

Aitabdel Salem, a resident of Queens and an Algerian immigrant, was arrested for fighting a cop and for theft at a clothing store two years ago, according to ThinkProgress.

Salem was told that the main reason he was locked away in Rikers jail for five months was because he was not able to pay the $25,000 in bail.

Rikers jail

Turns out, prosecutors never charged him and he no longer owed the $25,000, only $2 in bail payments due to tampering charges and mischief.

Salem was never informed by his lawyer of the sudden change in bail payment as well as the fact that he could have been released from the jail in one week rather than five months.

“Salem was frustrated that his case was unconscionably mishandled and there was no communication by his attorney telling him his bail was $2,” Glenn Hardy, his new attorney said.

The Algerian immigrant was eventually released from jail in May of last year. 

This has not been the first time that Rikers has held inmates longer than they need to be in jail.

Two years ago, Kalief Browder spent three years of her life in jail for robbery charges, according to The Huffington Post.

Browder was awaiting chargers from the court and they were eventually dismissed.

Now is the time for inmates at the general public who stands behind them to protest prisoners being sentenced to jail time longer than necessary. 

Read More: American Jails Are Locking People Up For Longer Than Necessary

Banner Image Credit: justapremonition, Tumblr user

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