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Illinois Releases Hundreds of Violent Criminals, Abolishes Cash Bail

Illinois Releases Hundreds of Violent Criminals, Abolishes Cash Bail

A new criminal justice reform law in Illinois will facilitate the release of roughly 400 criminal defendants beginning January 1st, 2023. 

Ironically abbreviated “SAFE-T,” the Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today Act eradicates cash bail for suspects charged with felonies including: 

  • Aggravated battery 
  • Aggravated DUI 
  • Aggravated Fleeing
  • Arson 
  • Burglary
  • Drug-induced homicide 
  • Intimidation
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Second-degree murder

The goal of this backwards law is to avoid detaining certain criminal offenders who can’t afford bail as they wait for their court date. It is the first law in US history to eliminate cash bail across an entire state.

“Anyone sitting in jail right now with all these pending charges, they’re going to be let out,” warns Sheriff Peter Sopczak of Johnson County, IL. “The gates are open and they’re going to be let out onto the streets.” 

The new policy is just a small part of a 611-page police reform package introduced by the state’s Legislative Black Caucus in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. It was signed into law in February by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D), who claimed it would ‘transform the pretrial detention system so low-income people aren’t thrown behind bars while only the wealthy walk free, divert low-level drug crimes into substance-treatment programs, and reduce excessive stays in prison.” 

Proponents view cash bail as “institutionalized racism” and argue it is unfair that some criminals are detained while others walk free. What these people are failing to acknowledge here is the fact that a crime is a crime, and the severity of the crime determines what bail is required.

“Even though aggravated battery is a violent offense that is a forcible felony, a person can get probation for it,” laments Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Reitz. “It’s not a detainable offense under the new statue.” 

Suspects charged with the crimes listed above will only be detained if the prosecution can prove that a suspect represents a threat to a specific person or demonstrates a high likelihood of flight. Exceptions include “forcible felonies” such as treason, aggravated criminal sexual assault, first-degree murder, and aggravated battery resulting in permanent disfigurement. 

“Imagine the defendant who murdered his wife, to whom he no longer poses a threat, being released because of this ridiculously limited legal standard,” argues Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley. 

SAFE-T also prevents police from arresting people for misdemeanors including trespassing and prevents judges from issuing a warrant for a defendant’s failure to appear in court until such a failure has occurred twice. 

As a whole, Republicans and law enforcement oppose the law and argue it will lead to an increase in crime. Illinois gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey, a Republican, has sworn to repeal the law if he is elected this year. 


On January 1st, 2023, Illinois jails will turn many prisoners loose

Illinois law doesn’t make murder, other crimes ‘non-detainable’ offenses

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  1. H

    Well, the fact that you have “non-detainable offenses” in the graphic means that you swiped this lie directly from the FOX News website. Their typical slant on every story is “whatever Liberals do, it must be bad”, with the corollary “same thing for Democrats”.

    What the law really does is that it eliminates cash bail. Either the judge keeps you in jail until the trial, or you’re out on your own recognizance until the trial. What you don’t have to do is go into debt to a bondsman to get out until your trial. There’s no scary scenario of a crazed killer getting out to commit more murders – the judge makes that decision.

    Of those 400 people who will supposedly be released, they already had the opportunity to get out of jail by paying bail. The jails are not just going to throw open the doors and let them out. They will get a hearing to determine if they should be let out. If the original judge imposed an impossibly high bail as a condition for release, the new judge would have the option of saying “accused will remain in custody until the trial”.

    Think about it – what happens if someone who is poor, has no family or friends who can help come up with cash bail, can’t afford the bondsman’s fee? Where are they going to get the money? Let’s say the judge wants the accused to be able to continue working and supporting his family and work with his lawyer to clear his name until the trial happens in 6 months, but the minimum bail specified for that offense is $2000. Even if they only have to come up with 10%, and the bondsman is going to charge 10% of the bail, where are they going to find $400? They have to stay in jail until the trial, have no chance to find a lawyer, can’t go looking for help from friends or organizations, can’t keep a job to earn money to maybe hire a real lawyer, can’t continue to support their family. The law is meant to prevent that from happening.

    On the other hand, if the judge sets the bail for a rich guy at $10 million, expecting that it would keep him in jail – let’s say the guy sells some stock, comes up with $1 million (10%) and leaves the country. Obviously, the bail didn’t accomplish what the judge wanted, which was to keep the rich guy in jail.

    As an example of the judge’s discretion, think about 2 guys charged with rape. Guy #1 is black, from a poor neighborhood, still in high school, just turned 18 years old, had sex with his girlfriend who is “almost 17”. Maybe what they were doing was legal until his 18th birthday, and it became statutory rape after that. Guy #2 is a white student with well-off parents, in college, also 18 years old, but got a woman drunk at a party, beat her up, and brutally raped her. Guy #1 is probably not a danger to society, but guy #2 clearly is. Does guy #1 deserve to sit in jail for a year before his trial just because he can’t come up with bail? Does Guy #2 deserve to get out of jail because his father can come up with the bail and hire the best lawyers, but he can continue to prey on women at the college for the next year until his trial?

    With the new law, the judge just says “release until trial” or “remain in custody until trial”. There is no question about the judge’s intent.

    Really, Alice, you should do at least the minimum amount of research before repeating this kind of drivel from Fox News.

    • T

      You are an idiot. The obvious result will be more crime to feed more crime. ‘Equity’ will destroy us all. It is a nonsense argument that creates ten fold the problems it solves – if any. I am for equity where it matters (fairness in hiring or education, for example) and crime is not it. If poor people commit more crimes, there will be more poor people in jail. Simple as that. It is the crime that matters, not what demographic the criminal falls in. Your examples are meaningless because the whole purpose of bail is to insure that the defendant comes back for trial. What do you think will happen? They won’t come back. You get a pass on the first absence already. If you stay in, most systems credit your stay with ‘time served’ and that will mitigate any financial loss. Of course they will use the first ‘get out of jail free’ card. Who wouldn’t? I hope you still feel good about it when you are the victim of a crime that would not have happened had the justice system not been handicapped. You are setting that stage for the demise of yourself and those you care about or you don’t live in Illinois and don’t have a stake in it anyway.

      And another business put to the curb by bureaucracy: Bail bondsmen.

      • H

        How does putting poor people in jail and letting the rich buy themselves a way out change the amount of crime? And remember, these people are accused, not convicted. If they’re innocent, you’ve just made the poor poorer, making it more likely they’ll commit crimes just to survive.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      And you have provided a skewed perspective, incorrect information and false choices.

      • frank stetson

        And you have provided not a clue nor evidence of a skewed perspective, incorrect information, or false choices. Just a “I don’t like what you said THEREFORE it is skewed, incorrect, and false. That’s not discussion, that’s judgement, presumed guilty without evidence.

        As is you way.


    • Ben

      What happens? Maybe people should decide if they can do the time before doing the crime

  2. Babsan

    Congratulations to all Democrat voters,you are getting what you asked for so ,take care and be safe.

  3. Kawika56

    Well, one good thing about this stupid law, “Threatening a public Official” will get more ignorant Public Officials murdered, thus eventually eliminating the reason this dangerous law was passed!

    • Hank

      Keep your guns nearby.

    • H

      That makes absolutely no sense… Threatening a public official gets a person thrown in jail. if it’s a dangerous threat, they’re not going to get out before the trial.

      If you think you’ll get a second chance to actually murder someone, go to Chicago and threaten an official, and let us know how it goes… But wait until I grab my popcorn…

      • Joe Gilbertson

        And yet it happened…

        • frank stetson

          Joe is right, in heeding the wishes of their orange-hair Jesus, Trumplicants terrorize officials across the land starting from the school board to volunteer election officials to the very halls of Congress, the seat of our Government. They have decided that terror and fear are their only means to get what they want and they want it that bad. These are just three of the hundreds of stories out there.

          • Joe Gilbertson

            Again, incorrect, off point, and complete nonsense. Politicians see “death threats” in their sleep. As do media people, like me. You may recall a recent, actual ATTACK on a Republican politician where the attacker was out and walking around the next day.

          • Frank stetson

            Again correct, supported by facts, you should try that sometime. As to off topic , hey, you started it.

            As to effect, can you say 1/6/2021.

            And just cuz it happens to you, don’t make it right. And I’m sure your mothers house was stormed, she was terrified it was the KKK, and she was manhandled. Just bau.

          • frank stetson

            The facts are correct, again.

            And it was as off point as your comment beginning the conversation, if you can call what you do dialog, was your comment.

            As to poor Joe, poor Joe, global media pundit —– sees death threats in his sleep. I’m sorry that your paranoia has become so severe. But beyond your narcistic laments, I don’t think a volunteer election official signed up, or gets paid, to have to go through that crap from Republicans. Nor the school board member where no CRT is even being offered as curriculum. Of course, CRT would fall under free speech, and you can’t have that either —- it’s immoral, right?

            No, no one recalls your Republican, but they let em off, unless you’re talking NYS but who knows, you never source, link, or define any facts; you just toss your fake-fact-burgers against the wall to see if any sticks.

            HAGD and let us know if you ever desire meaningful dialog versus your diatribe.

  4. D.D.


  5. frank stetson

    “ILLINOIS RELEASES HUNDREDS OF VIOLENT CRIMINALS” is a bald-faced lie; no one will be released without a process, and the law does not take affect until 2023. First, there are no provisions in the law that allow the jail doors fly open automatically allowing those not able to post existing bails to go free. Second, Prosecutors have the ability, under the new law, to petition the court for people charged with violent crimes to be jailed pretrial. Before this law, if you made bail, you walk. Now Prosecutors can petition a much wider criminal audience for pretrial detainment. Instead of the existing “money will set you free” environment, the new law allows an “in or out” status no matter how much money you have.

    IOW, for a large variety of crimes, people will be jailed pretrial if a judge says they are a flight risk, in violation of their parole or probation, or if they are pretrial release for a previous charge.

    Variations in the law, although not as robust, are in effect in NJ and NY with positive results for lowering incarceration numbers without an increase in crime or making court dates. Basically, no one gets hurt, taxpayers fund lower jail numbers, and people aren’t skipping town en masse.

    Why Alice was not interested in actual results is anybody’s guess. The copy/paste queen is not known for “added value.”

    Buy hey —— let the fear mongering go on. It’s the mid terms and you got nothing to build on so let’s tell everyone, “oh god, oh god, we’re gonna die.” That’s one way to garner votes.