Illinois bans cash bail
One of the constants in Chicago is the escalating crime rate over the past year, with many of the crimes committed by people who are out on bail, including "affordable" bail. This concept is meant to give poor people the same ability as rich people to be free while awaiting trial. Illinois is now set to follow suit: starting in 2023, there won't be any bail in Illinois at all thanks to a new crime bill that will, among other things, end cash bail. Since affordable bail has already given carte blanche to Chicago's criminals, we can pretty much guess how this will end.
A Chicago-based friend of mine routinely sends me emails about crimes in Chicago committed by people out on bail. Here are just the ones from 2021:
- "Victim #27: We find another man accused of committing murder while on affordable bail in 2020."
- "On bail for 3 separate felony cases, 'fanged' man now charged with killing 12-year-old in crash."
- "Man charged with 2 Red Line robberies – 3 months after getting 'affordable bail' in another train robbery."
- "Weeks after charity bond fund posted bail for convicted murder who's on parole for 3 robberies, he robbed a West Loop pet store, prosecutors say."
The deadliest affordable bail disasters of 2020 are summed up in this article:
So far, CWB reporters have identified 32 people who were charged with committing murder, attempted murder, or aggravated battery with a firearm while free on bail for serious felonies in 2020. Four of the accused men are charged with shooting, and sometimes killing, more than one person.
But the actual number of killings and shootings committed by persons on bail is almost certainly much higher. As of the new year, arrests have been made in just 27% of Chicago's 2020 murders and 2.7% (Yes. Two point seven percent) of non-fatal shootings, according to CPD data.
It's in this landscape of violence that the Illinois Legislature passed — and Governor J.B. Pritzker just signed — a new criminal justice law that, among other things, ends cash bail, all in the name of racial "equity":
The end of cash bail won't go into effect until January 2023, and municipalities will be on a rolling compliance schedule to use body cameras with complete compliance by 2025, Slaughter has said.
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said it's "time to look at criminal justice policy through an equity lens and tell the truth about how systemic racism" has disproportionately effected [sic] Black people.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle echoed Stratton's remarks, saying "today we're taking another step toward achieving a more fair and equitable criminal justice system, one that for far too long has protected the wealthy, and has too often leaned on punitive practices against people whose only crime was being poor."
While Democrats are thrilled that there will be no limitations placed on people accused of a crime, Republicans and people in the law enforcement community are less excited:
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said the governor's decision to sign the bill shows he's "turned his back" on the "good men and women of law enforcement."
"The governor's support of House Bill 3653 is an insult to our first responders, law enforcement and the law-abiding citizens of Illinois who want to live free of violence and destruction from the criminal element," the Western Springs Republican said in a statement.
A coalition of Illinois law enforcement leadership said in a January statement the "so-called 'reforms'" in the bill "would destroy law enforcement's ability to keep communities safe."
Leftists dismiss these concerns, which are already supported by the rash of crimes those on affordable bail committed, as "fear-mongering."
Think about this: Chicago, which is the hub of Illinois's criminal activity, has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation — and some of the highest gun crime. Its politicians try to blame other states with less strict gun laws for Chicago's deadly problems, but the reality is that Chicago's criminal culture is robust all on its own. Going forward, it may well be a criminal culture on steroids: unlimited illegal guns, citizens unable to defend themselves, and no cash bail.
Image: Gov. Pritzker signs a new criminal justice bill. YouTube screen grab.