CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Money bond is no longer the law of the land in Illinois, now that the state’s court-tested Pretrial Fairness Act has officially taken effect.
Opponents of money bond celebrated outside the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Monday, where State Sen. Robert Peters called Illinois’ first-of-its-kind law “a modern day Civil Rights miracle.”
Under the Pretrial Fairness Act, people will not have to post bonds for misdemeanors and even some felonies. Judges will put individuals in county jails to await trial if they’re charged with certain violent crimes and are a threat to the community.
“Our now-former system — which I’m very excited to say — didn’t make survivors safe,” Madeleine Behr, with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. “People could get out of jail simply because they had the money to pay, not whether they were a danger to the survivor or the public.”
Behr added that “this is what real community safety looks like.” Peters struck a similar tone.
“That’s fundamentally what this is about: Public safety for all, and not a few, and it should not matter what’s in your wallet,” he said. “What should matter is how you’re able to go home and live your life, and be able to be with your kids and not locked up simply because you’re poor.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx called it “a historic day in Illinois.” She accused opponents of the new system of spreading misinformation, disinformation and “flat out lies” about it.