Under a new law, approved by the Illinois State Supreme Court, judges across Illinois will not require those charged with a crime to post bail in order to be released from jail while they await trial. That is unless the judge determines them a threat to the public or a flight risk. The law effectively makes Illinois the first state to end cash bail.
Sheriffs Kyle Bacon and Jeff Bullard, from Southern Illinois say they are concerned and discouraged by the state Supreme Court's ruling to end cash bail. They say that, they are bracing for more crime and more victims across the state as a result.
Franklin County Sheriff, Kyle Bacon said-
"Folks who live here are extremely concerned," "It's an experiment on the backs of victims of crime. I have serious concerns and so do the people that live here."… "We were preparing for this, but then we just kind of hit the pause button,"… "And now the scramble is back on for law enforcement, prosecutors, “ adding…"The flaws of it are going to be revealed even more and trying to fix that issue is going to be a nonstop process,"… "It is discouraging,"-Franklin County Sheriff, Kyle Bacon
Jefferson County Sheriff, Jeff Bullard said law enforcement and attorneys will be the ones who bear the brunt of these changes. Reportedly, Bullard said-
"We did our job. We arrested them, incarcerated them,"… "and then the state's attorney makes the argument that they should be remanded for trial, and the judge, based on the SAFE-T Act guidelines, says, “Now I'm forced to let them go.”…"That's going to increase crime victim frustration … and we share that frustration with them,"-Jefferson County Sheriff, Jeff Bullard
Previously set to go into effect on Jan. 1, the provision, part of the 2021 criminal justice reform bill, the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (or SAFE-T) Act, was placed on hold after Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul appealed a ruling by a circuit judge, that the pre-trial release and bail reforms in the SAFE-T act were unconstitutional.
According to a previous interview by Fox News, Orland Park Mayor, Keith Pekau spoke out saying-
"When I said that this is the most dangerous law I've ever seen, I believe that."-Orland Park Mayor, Keith Pekau
However, bail reform advocates argue that the current cash bail system bases the freedom of people awaiting trial largely on their ability to pay money. They say it disproportionately affects communities of color.
Sheriffs’ Bacon and Bullard, said their officers will continue to serve and protect their citizens to the best of their ability, within the limits of the law. They did however express that the outlook of how this change will affect policing remains unclear. Time will tell.
"We have 100 people sitting in jail or requiring cash bond. What happens with that? We have literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of arrest warrants that are assigned a cash bond. What happens with that?" "All of these questions exist and, quite honestly, I sit here and have no idea what the answers are."-Franklin County Sheriff, Kyle Bacon
[It can] "discourage both the police, those in the criminal justice system and the citizens" [emphasizing] …"I would tell people to not be discouraged, we're going to continue to push forward."-Jefferson County Sheriff, Jeff Bullard
“To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace”“To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace”