Chicago Community Bond Fund: No Significant Change Expected in Cook County Jail Population Under New Illinois Bond Law

Chicago Community Bond Fund
Chicago Community Bond Fund

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–June 12, 2017. The Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) will continue our efforts to end the use of monetary bond and dramatically reduce pretrial detention in the wake of Governor Rauner signing SB 2034 into law last Friday. CCBF expects this new law will result in little or no decrease in the population of Cook County Jail. It falls far short of providing meaningful relief to the thousands of people currently incarcerated simply for being poor. Right now, 60% of the more than 7,000 people in the Cook County Jail are there only because they cannot afford to post a monetary bond.

Comprehensive bond reform must include ending the use of monetary bond altogether. SB 2034 merely makes recommendations that judges are not required to follow.  Under SB 2034, people charged with nonviolent misdemeanors and certain Class 3 and 4 felonies (primarily retail theft and drug possession) who were initially given monetary bonds will be entitled to a review of their bond if they have not paid it within seven days. This second hearing, however, does not guarantee release and specifies no criteria for the review. In addition, most of the harms of pretrial incarceration—such as increased recidivism, the loss of jobs, loss of housing, interference with caretaking responsibilities for children of other dependents—happen after just 24 hours of pretrial detention.

In response to the signing of SB 2034, Max Suchan, CCBF’s Director of Operations, stated, “Chicago Community Bond Fund is disappointed that SB 2034 continues to allow judges to use money bond in every case before them. True comprehensive bail reform must include hard limits on the use of money bond and must also reduce the jail population.  We expect little to no change in Cook County Jail’s population as a result of this new law, and no reduction in the number of people incarcerated pretrial simply for being poor.  CCBF will continue working for meaningful bond reform in Illinois. ”

To date, CCBF has posted more than $400,000 to free 69 people from Cook County Jail.  Posting these bonds has allowed people to keep their jobs and housing, maintain custody of their children, access adequate medical and mental health treatment, and improve the legal outcomes of their cases.

The Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County, Illinois. Through a revolving fund, CCBF supports individuals whose communities cannot afford to pay the bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence. Inability to pay bond results in higher rates of conviction, longer sentences, loss of housing and jobs, separation of families, and lost custody of children. By paying bond, CCBF restores the presumption of innocence before trial and enables recipients to remain free while fighting their cases. CCBF also engages in public education about the role of bond in the criminal legal system and advocates for the abolition of money bond. CCBF is committed to long­term relationship building and organizing with people most directly impacted by criminalization and policing.

Source: http://www.chicagobond.org

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