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Optimism surrounds new bail reform act in Illinois

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

"We live in a system today where we use money as the sole determining factor in determining whether somebody is going to be in jail or out of jail. Using money instead of risk is clearly not what we want to do." - Sharone Mitchell, director of the Illinois Justice Project

The long-standing act of bail as we know it may be coming to an end with the introduction of new legislation that would ban the use of cash bonds.

Illinois would be the first state to end a system of wealth-based freedom that disproportionally affects people of color and low-income populations.

Sharone Miller, director of the Illinois Justice Project, said the act is a 300-page long piece of legislation that would end the cash-based bail system and help abolish mass pre-trial incarceration.

Under The Illinois Pretrial Fairness Act, charged individuals will be held or not held, eliminating any element of money. There will also be a new process to conduct the decision-making for detention.

The new legislation is expected to be signed into law by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in the coming weeks. Once signed, it won't be implemented until January 2023.

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