Correcting the Record on the Jails Imam Who Approved the Bar Mitzvah


In the running controversy over the Dec. 30 bar mitzvah at the Tombs, we reported that Assistant Correction Commissioner Umar Abdul-Jalil [above] was on “lifetime parole” following his prison stint on drug charges.

In fact, that wasn’t accurate. As his lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman pointed out this week and state parole officials confirmed, he was actually discharged from parole in May, 1992 after serving 14 years in prison and about 3 years on parole.

“Mr. Abdul-Jalil paid his debt to society and is presently free from any restrictions from the state, including parole,” Lichtman says.

Abul-Jalil approved the bar mitzvah that has led to the resignation of the No. 3 official in the Correction Department and a rabbi overseeing the welfare of jewish inmates, along with suspensions and loss of vacation days. He also tried to say his role in the episode was less than actually was the case. He was one of those who lost vacation days, but he was not fired–an outcome questioned by some in the department who thought he should have been let go.

But he had a savior. In the midst of an ongoing internal investigation by the supposedly independent city Department of Investigation, Mayor Bloomberg defended Abdul-Jalil, declaring, “We need him.” Bloomberg’s comments were seen by some as hamstringing DOI’s probe, at least of Abul-Jalil. The Imam remains on the job in the same title.