Battle lines are being drawn over the argument on the effects of ending cash bail in Illinois. No other measure as part of the controversial criminal justice reform SAFE-T Act has drawn more attention than the Pretrial Fairness Act, which abolished cash bail Jan. 1. State’s attorneys contend the provision will allow violent offenders to be released with a higher burden of proof required to hold them before trial. State Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, a driving force behind the SAFE-T Act, has accused Republicans opposed to measures of a “bad stench of racism.”
At a recent event, Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow urged voters to support anyone who will throw out the SAFE-T Act.
“You as the electorate need to demand that anybody running for election in November is going to vote to repeal this bill,” said Glasgow. “It will destroy the state of Illinois. I have 640 people in the Will County jail. All their bonds will be extinguished on Jan. 1, and 60 are charged with murder.”
Prosecutors are required to submit a request for detention if the offender committed a crime that poses a significant threat to public safety of an individual or community. The state is also required to provide each suspect a hearing within 48 hours to determine if the suspect should be released. Glasgow said it’s nearly impossible to provide evidence needed within that time period since it takes time to review the evidence.
The People’s Lobby, a member of the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice, issued a statement which said Glasgow is peddling fear and that the law dismantles a “harmful system that disproportionately targets Black and Brown Illinoisans and replaces it with one that is data and safety-driven.”