SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois’ “Pretrial Fairness Act” goes into effect next week, making the state the first in the nation to get rid of cash bail.
Defendants currently behind bars will stay there. The bill also expands the list of detainable offense before trial. Prosecutors will have to prove that a defendants poses a real and present threat to a person or the community.
Critics have said that cash bail policies are especially unfair to people of color and to non-violent offenders who cannot afford the bail. Some other studies have shown that being detained pre-trial can have a negative impact on the outcome of a person’s case.
“You look guilty because you’re in jail, so I felt stigmatized by that,” said Chicago resident Nikuya Brooks. “Every time I would have to go before the judge wearing his uniform, my hands shackled at my waist, and I’m wearing leg irons and chains and I’m walking before the judge like that, so nothing that I say is pertinent to him because I’m just some criminal.”
The Winnebago County State’s Attorney will give an update on Wednesday about how his office is preparing.