A component of the SAFE-T Act called The Pre-Trial Fairness Act that abolishes cash bail has gone into effect in Illinois recently. Elected officials and advocacy groups gathered at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse to celebrate the end of cash bail, emphasizing the positive impact on defendants' lives. The change means individuals can keep their jobs, stay in their homes, and maintain custody of their children while awaiting trial.
The elimination of cash bail, which took effect on Monday, follows a series of delays and legal challenges. While proponents of the act see it as a major victory for justice reform, some prosecutors and law enforcement leaders argue that it may lead to more criminals being released into the community.
Under the new system, judges can release defendants without requiring them to post bail if they are deemed not to pose a public safety or flight risk. However, those arrested for violent crimes are likely to be detained by a judge.
Illinois is now being hailed as a national leader in criminal justice reform, with leaders emphasizing the importance of addressing the root causes of crime and violence for future generations.
The reform has drawn both support and criticism, with opponents expressing concerns about its potential impact on public safety. House Republican Leader Tony McCombie raised apprehensions that ending cash bail could lead to offenders being released shortly after committing serious offenses, potentially jeopardizing community safety.
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Link: ABC7 Chicago