New criminal justice bill eliminates bail, aims to reduce racism in policing

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2021 | criminal defense

Criminal justice reform is something that happens all the time. It’s necessary as laws and communities change.

In Illinois, a recent change is something to address. Illinois has become the first state to end cash bail as a new part of a criminal justice reform law. Both politicians and the police in the state have been speaking out against the bill, because they believe that it is an attempt to punish professionals and one that will hurt citizens.

The bill, which overhauls policing and justice matters in the state, mandates police officers to wear body cameras. They have until 2025 to comply in making all officers wear these in all departments. By January 2022, the bill asks that officials establish a use of force standard as well.

Goals of the bill

In this bill, one standout piece is that it calls to eliminate cash bail by 2023. The goal of this is to move the system away from one that focuses on money and wealth, since many without financial support cannot meet their cash bail requirements. When this goes into effect, a judge will have the option of detaining someone who could be a threat or likely to flee, but cash bail will no longer be an issue prior to trial.

Illinois’s bill went on to create a new model of enforcement and response called the co-responder model. This model supports creating programs that will help address substance abuse and mental health concerns. The bill will provide additional funding for training related to these programs and now requires the police to maintain misconduct records. The police are also required to create plans in which they will work out how to protect those who may be vulnerable during search warrant raids.

The legislation aims to reduce and dismantle systemic racism in Illinois, though it is just a single step toward doing so. Proponents of the bill stated that it aims to address the disproportionate abuse against black people in the state. The bill was partly built on input from those in communities that are greatly affected by these issues with the hope of offering solutions to widely recognized problems in the state.

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