Five Months in Jail, or a $1 Bail?

You're faced with the easiest choice in the world: a $1 bail, or five months in prison. The choice is obvious, right? Unfortunately, one man didn't have a say in either. Queens resident Aitabdel Salem, 42, was arrested November 21, 2014. The charges that were filed against him were due to attacking an NYPD police officer after he was stopped for allegedly stealing a clothing item from a store. But the gag is, he was unaware that his original bail of $25,000 was dropped to a bail of $1, and was reportedly supposed to be released only a few days after the arrest. As a result, Salem spent several months behind bars before a judge explained that there was a court order date that an official was supposed to bring him to, but failed to do so. Despite the miscommunication, the judge still felt it was necessary to continue the proceedings without Salem's presence. Oh the government- inconveniencing one person at a time.

Salem, unamused, did not take the situation lightly. But of course! Who would? Due to the aggravation, he has decided to sue the Rikers Island Correctional Center. The center decided to pay his bail off, but it was still not enough for the misinformed convict. This situation didn't break news until 2016, but Salem only recently decided to sue the unorganized, low-ranked prison.

But as all good things eventually come to end, so did this ordeal. After Salem's calamity breached the news platform in June of 2016, he was later convicted of criminal meddling and felony assault, and is currently serving three to five years in a state prison. This misconception is just one of many flaws within our government system. Hopefully it will not take another misinformed and unfairly treated convict, or even a wrongly imprisoned victim, to tighten up our grip within federal and state prisons.

The lesson here, though, is, always look out for your own interest, and never rely on the system. You never know when you'll be faced with the choice of a pocket-change bail, or an extensive sentence in prison.

-Kayla Steward

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