Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has signed sweeping criminal justice reform legislation this week that would end cash bail statewide by 2023. Under the new law, most defendants would be released while awaiting trial unless a judge rules otherwise.
Democrats looking to end cash bail
Illinois is the first state to move to eliminate cash bail, which critics say is a “poor people’s tax” that benefits the wealthy who can afford to post bail, and disproportionately affects people of color.
Pritzker said in a statement the legislation “marks a substantial step toward dismantling the systemic racism that plagues our communities, our state and our nation and brings us closer to true safety, true fairness and true justice.”
State Sen. Elgie Sims (D), a member of the Black Caucus that authored the bill signed by Pritzker Monday, said in a statement: “These reforms should merely be the first steps we take to transform criminal justice in Illinois.”
This criminal justice package that I signed today helps make Illinoisans safer. We're advance our values in the law, because of the passion and push of the @IllinoisLBC, activists, and residents intent on leaving a better Illinois for all our children. pic.twitter.com/VX1d9ObNJD
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) February 22, 2021
Radical Lefties determined to destroy America
The bill also requires police in the state to wear body cameras, sets standards on use of force, crowd control responses, de-escalation, and arrest techniques, and eliminates license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees for some traffic offenses, among other measures. The provisions are set to be phased in over four years from July 1.
State House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said in a statement Tuesday the incoming laws were an “insult to our first responders, law enforcement and the law-abiding citizens of Illinois who want to be free from violence and destruction from the criminal element.”
Ed Wojcicki, executive director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, referred to reforms in a statement as the “anti-police bill.”
A coalition of law enforcement agencies from across the state has since slammed Pritzker’s move, criticizing the Democratic governor for choosing “to listen to a few strident political voices rather than the 120,000 petition signing citizens who plainly saw the bill for what it is.”
“Because we are sworn to protect and serve the public, we sincerely hope that we will not be proven right about this new law, that it won’t cause police officers to leave the profession in droves and handcuff those who remain so they can’t stop crimes against people and property,” continues the statement by the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition. “Please don’t let us measure its dismal failure by the shattered lives it produces.”