One State Just Did Away With Cash Bail

Illinois became the first state to abolish cash bail as a piece of legislation called the Pre-Trial Fairness Act took effect on Monday.

The Pre-Trial Fairness Act is part of the SAFE-T Act, a broader piece of legislation that “enacts extensive reform impacting many areas of the criminal justice system,” according to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, going forward, people charged with the state’s lowest level offenses will most likely never set foot in a jail cell, including at a police station, after their arrest. These people will likely be released with a citation and a court date without being processed at the police station. Law enforcement will be allowed to take certain individuals into custody if they cannot be properly identified or if they believe the person is a danger to the community. Police will be required to explain why the person was held.

Judges will decide if a defendant poses a public safety threat. If they do not, they will be released without being required to post any money. Those arrested for violent crimes will likely be detained by a judge.

Fox 32 Chicago noted that opponents of the legislation are concerned that it will allow dangerous criminals to “slip through the cracks” and commit crimes. (Read more from “One State Just Did Away With Cash Bail” HERE)

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