Bail Reform

Coverage of bail reform and the SAFE-T Act’s effects in Illinois.

“I think we’ve come a very long way in the right direction,” Cook County Supervising Judge Charles Beach told the Sun-Times. “Things are working well.”
The Illinois Supreme Court announced this week it had created a task force to study the issue and report back to the state’s highest court.
Officials in Cook County say implementation has been seamless, but the new policy put a strain on resources elsewhere in Illinois.
The packages are co-branded with the logos of the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice and the rapper’s cannabis company, 93 Boyz.
The numbers are near a 40-year low, but experts say they could rise as defendants now deemed too risky to release remain locked up.
Despite glitches in other courthouses, the first week of bail reform in Cook County went relatively smoothly.
Many downstate prosecutors had joined an unsuccessful legal challenge to the law doing away with cash bail.
“Overall, this was encouraging — and a bit of a relief,” said Amanda Pyron of the Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence.
Despite a frenzied Monday morning of last-minute preparations, the hearings at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse were not substantially different from the old cash bail system.
It’s been two years since the Pretrial Fairness Act was passed, but questions remain about who will be jailed and who will not.
As the Pretrial Fairness Act is implemented, the public needs and deserves transparency about its impact. Some activists fear judges may turn to electronic monitoring, but as long as judges follow the law, we see no grounds for complaint.
Additional administrative work demanded by the law ending cash bail, coupled with staff shortages, is a problem when it comes to the safety of domestic abuse victims.
“Things aren’t going to be too different for us,” said Cook County Judge Mary Marubio. “It’s just that money will no longer be a condition of release.”
“Everyone has to be focused on day one, recommending decisions to the judge and making sure that the law is implemented as intended,” said Amanda Pyron, leader of a coalition of victim advocacy groups.
Ankle bracelets, originally used to detain people convicted of crimes, have “little impact on pretrial misconduct” of people awaiting trial, bail reform advocates say.
The act backed by the Illinois Supreme Court Tuesday lays out new procedures for detaining someone.
On Tuesday, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the controversial law.
The court is scheduled to hear legal challenges during its March term. The schedule does not give a date for the justices to issue a ruling.
Kankakee County Chief Judge Thomas Cunnington sided with prosecutors and sheriffs from across Illinois in ruling that the cash bail section of the legislation violates the Illinois Constitution. Attorney General Kwame Raoul has vowed to appeal.
Those who question the amendments are accused of “fear-mongering” or spreading “misinformation.” But proponents gave Illinoisans little detailed information about the Act, and the people deserve more than that.