SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Law enforcement groups across the state are calling on legislators to reject a proposal to eliminate cash bail for apprehended criminals.

As part of Gov. JB Pritzker’s proposed criminal justice reforms, lawmakers in the General Assembly may soon be taking the proposal under consideration.

In Illinois, judges set bail for criminal defendants based on 20 factors, including the likelihood the person is a risk for flight or a repeat offense.

Last week, advocates in favor of the elimination of cash bail went to Springfield to speak to legislators, saying the cash bail system has a disproportionate effect on the poor.

In response, numerous Illinois sheriff’s offices have formed the Coalition for Public Safety, which opposes ending cash bail.

Founding members of the Coalition include: Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, Chicago Lodge 7 Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

“There’s a reason doctors don’t regulate pilots and pilots don’t regulate lawyers,” said Sean Smoot, Director and Chief Legal Counsel for PB & PA of Illinois. “Our organizations are on the front lines of the criminal justice system and when issues affecting that system come under consideration we should be involved and at the table.”

“The Coalition unequivocally and unanimously oppose eliminating cash bail. Elimination is not the way to make the criminal justice system more equitable, and it is not the way to make our communities safer,” said Jim Kaitschuk, executive director of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association.


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