lllinois Becomes First State to End Cash Bail After Governor Signs Historic Criminal Reform Measure Into Law
Illinois became the first state on Monday to remove bail, a system whereby people are held in prison without being convicted of a crime - simply because they cannot afford to pay bail.
Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill recently passed by Illinois lawmakers to end the practice across Illinois by 2023, WGN9 reports.
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Pritzker recognized the impact of the measure on racial justice, calling it "Illinois's efforts to lead the country in reducing systemic racism".
The new law also requires that all state police officers wear body cameras by 2025, that police intervene if they witness other officers using unauthorized violence, and that, among other things, the standards for issuing arrest warrants without knocking dimensions are raised.
The core of the massive law is the termination of bail. Almost everyone would be released from prison while waiting for trial, unless a judge orders otherwise.
The reforms also provide more rights for people accused of crime and victims. People in police custody can make three calls. While removing obstacles to give more people access to the state's victims' compensation program.
The police reforms are the most controversial measures.
The legislation increases certification for civil servants, allows anonymized filing of complaints, and mandates the use of body cameras. The officers would be held responsible for turning on the body camera.
"There is concern that this bill will introduce a new criminal sanction for police officers who do not use their body cameras when required by law," said MP Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis). "I believe this bill makes us as a state and the public less safe."
Funny that as an Illinois resident I can decide for myself whether or not to wear body cameras makes me less confident.
Body cameras exposed the disruptive behavior of Chicago police officers who stormed the home of black social worker Anjanette Young and handcuffed the woman while she was naked during a botched robbery in 2019.
Bodycam footage shows Chicago police handcuffing a naked black woman during a botched house attack
Even then, it took a legal battle before the footage was released last year. This showed the public how less safe the police were making this black woman and supported her efforts to regain the traumatic experience.
The historic bill was drafted by the Black Caucus of the Illinois legislature.
“These actions begin with building a smarter system, where conviction and bail decisions are based on public safety rather than the wealth and color of the accused, and bad actors in our police departments are held accountable while those involved with Serving integrity has the resources it needs, ”said Rep. Sonya Harper, chairwoman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, in a statement sent to The Root.
Illinois lawyers who have fought the bail war - disproportionately affecting blacks, as the criminal system generally does - praised the Black Caucus and Governor Pritzker for advancing the measure.
"The end of the borrowing - one of the most important reforms - will add importance to the 'presumption of innocence' of our criminal justice system," said Sharone Mitchell, director of the Illinois Justice Project, in a statement accompanying the passage of the law. "If the judges take effect two years from now, they can arrest anyone deemed a threat to the community or unlikely to return to a court hearing, but no one else will have to produce cash to buy their release from prison on trial. "
According to the Center for American Progress, three to five people in the US have not been convicted of a crime.
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