Illinois Scraps Money Bail

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill Monday that makes Illinois the first state in the country to abolish cash bail payments for jail release for people who have been arrested and are waiting for their case to be heard, reports NPR. The Illinois Pre-Trial Fairness Act, as it’s called, is part of Illinois House Bill 3653, a sweeping package of criminal justice measures including requiring police officers to be licensed by the state and to wear body-cams by 2025, expanding training opportunities for officers, making it easier to decertify police officers who commit misconduct, and improving a victims compensation program by making resources more readily available to survivors. Many portions of Illinois House Bill 3653 will go into effect on July 1, however it will be another two years, January 2023, until the no cash bail policy is put in place.

In a statement, the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition, a collection of police unions and organizations representing police officers and county sheriffs, says the law will put the public and law enforcement at risk and The executive director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police released a statement calling the measure “anti-police.” Supporters of the elimination of cash bail say those are fear tactics and they point to studies that show little-to-no increase in crime caused by the near elimination of cash bail in New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

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