Cook Country States Attorney announces bond reform initiative

26th and CalifIn policy shift  news reported by Rummana Hussain of the Chicago Sun Times, States Attorney Kim Fox announced a new program for bail reform on Wednesday. Some non violent inmates have been forced to remain in jail because they haven’t been able to afford the bail bonds that judges have set. Crimes including petty theft, drug stuff, property damage are the main crimes that the offenders have committed. As Hussain explains, “After the Cook County Sheriff’s Office singled out 50 cases of those who were “languishing” in jail for several months because of their inability to post $1,000 or less, the State’s Attorney and Public Defender’s offices came together to identify those inmates who would be better served outside jail, Foxx said.” With the reforms and pushes for I-bonds the inmates can be released without having to spend a prolonged time in jail. Fox explained using an example of a certain inmate on why she believed this to be a sensible decision, “One person was in for retail theft and couldn’t pay the $300 they needed to walk. . . . Another person broke into their friend’s house and stole some shoes,” Foxx told the Chicago Sun-Times. “An alternative to jail makes sense.” Another part of the reforms are that drug offenders awaiting trial must seek treatment as requirement for their release. The actual component requirements to meet the criteria have not been finalized. It appears certain that the offense must be non violent, and the accused be indigent and that alcohol/substance abuse evaluations and follow up will be part of the criteria. This initiative is not a change to the bail statute which does already allow those components to be part of the equation; it appears that the  change is that the State’s Attorney will not be requesting cash bail to secure an accused’s appearance if their finalized criteria are met. It is unclear if those with a record of prior offenses, or prior bond forfeiture warrants will be included in this policy.




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Update: Motion passed! Hooray!

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