(The Center Square) – Monday begins the end of money bond in the state of Illinois and views vary on whether it will improve the state’s criminal justice system.
The Pretrial Fairness Act was supposed to end cash bail Jan. 1, but was delayed by legal challenges from dozens of state’s attorneys from across Illinois. The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the law two months ago and set Sept. 18 for the day it would go into effect.
Madeleine Behr with Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation said the law will be better for domestic violence and gender-based violence victims.
“Victims have always been able … to petition for protective orders at these hearings, but the state is now required to notify victims of the ability to petition for these orders,” Behr said.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Reinhart said the measure will bring about transparency and accountability.
“This in a much better way allows us to calibrate the safety issues … that it isn’t one size fits all but that we will actually be making safety-based decisions,” Reinhart said.
In Sangamon County, Sheriff Jack Campbell said they won’t be releasing criminal defendants already behind bars right away. They have a process in place for that. But, he said there are public safety and police morale concerns moving forward.
“I really think that whenever I think the legislature sees a rise in the crime rates in Illinois that maybe they’ll go back and maybe repeal it, maybe work on reform that needs to happen,” Campbell told WMAY.
But, suspects of lower-level crimes being processed and released raises concerns for others. Springfield Mayor Misty Buscher said her gut tells her there could be an increase in crime and residents should lock their homes and their vehicles.
“Please keep your personal belongings out of the view in the car windows because they might get smashed if they see a computer bag or a laptop bag, a purse,” she said.
Suspects of more serious and violent crime can be held pending trial can be held pretrial under provisions of the Pretrial Fairness Act.