Bail reform is worth it, but only for those accused of non-violent crimes
The League of Women Voters supports bail reform. But electronic monitoring for defendants who are charged with or have a background of violent offenses is not appropriate nor safe.
The headline ”Judges are Freeing More Violent Crime Suspects on Electronic Monitoring” makes it seem, in our view, as though this program in particular and bail reform in general are the main drivers of violent crime lately in Cook County. The article does state that the aim of bail reform “was to keep people who pose little risk to the public from languishing in jail because they are too poor to make bail.”
The League of Women Voters of Cook County has long supported bail reform if it is accomplished in a safe and fair manner. Judges have a tool, the Public Safety Assessment, to help them decide whether to hold a defendant in jail or to release him/her. This tool assigns one score to defendants for their likelihood of reoffending and another for their likelihood of meeting all of their court dates. Judges also receive written reports from a pretrial services worker that gives further details for these two scores.
If defendants receive a score that is not clear-cut, judges can rely on electronic monitoring as a middle ground.
Reduced or no bail for non-violent offenders who are not deemed a risk to others and who would most likely return for court hearings is appropriate. The use of electronic monitoring for defendants who are charged with or have a background of violent offenses is not appropriate nor safe for communities.
Bail reform can work, if done correctly.
Jan Goldberg and Karin Hribar, co-chairs of the Criminal Justice Interest Group
League of Women Voters of Cook County
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Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and other transformative leaders taught and changed the world through the power of non-violence. We need some of that wisdom right now.
The intense anger and frustration over the shooting of an unarmed Black man in the back and in front of his children is more than justified. But the violence, in my opinion, is very counter-productive, especially when much of the damage hurts your own communities.
Please heed the call of Mr. Blake’s mother and replace the violence with peaceful protest. Stop giving the Republicans material for their scare agenda. They’re spewing that frightening, divisive language every night.
Replace the images of burning buildings with powerful images of candle-light vigils or whatever form of peaceful protest the community embraces. Just stop the violence.
Michael F. DeSantiago, Niles
The GOP ‘embarrassment’
The GOP National Convention is an embarrassment. All I hear from the guest speakers, including President Trump, is about the villainous acts perpetrated by the Democrats, how horrible the party is and how they plan to take away our freedoms.
Oh wait, has that not been the climate of our country the last four years? Just once, I would like to see both parties recognize the importance of a two-party democratic system and work together for a common goal.
That of course requires work, and like electricity, each takes the path of least resistance, choosing to denigrate each other instead of working together.
I’ll choose the party candidate that runs on his own merit.
John Livaich, Oak Lawn