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Cash bail to be eliminated in Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court upheld a 2021 law that eliminates the cash bail system.
Cash bail to be eliminated in Illinois
Posted at 1:28 PM, Jul 19, 2023

People awaiting trial in Illinois will soon no longer need to come up with cash bail. 

The Illinois Supreme Court upheld this week a 2021 law that eliminated the cash bail system. 

 "Someone's experience with the criminal justice system should not vary based on their income level," said Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who defended the SAFE-T Act. 

The attorney general added that people awaiting a trial are presumed innocent. 

The SAFE-T Act is a broad law aimed at reforming the criminal justice system in Illinois. Raoul notes that the plaintiffs took aim at cash bail reform, but did not challenge other parts of the law, which addresses use-of-force standards for police officers, requiring the reporting of in-custody deaths and adding mental health experts who can respond to people in crisis. 

"I am pleased — although not surprised — that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act," Raoul said. 

SEE MORE: The state of bail in the US

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, which has expressed concern that eliminating the cash bail system will make it harder to fight crime, called the ruling a "slap in the face."

"The court ignored the pleas of nearly every prosecutor in the state of Illinois, Democrat and Republican, that the elimination of cash bail will put dangerous criminals back on the street, instead of keeping them in jail or forcing them to post cash bail as they await trial," said llinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge President Chris Southwood.

Raoul, however, notes that individuals can still be held in jail prior to their trial if they are deemed a public threat or a flight risk.

The no cash bail system will go into effect in September. 


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