News & Politics

Illinois Becomes First State to End Cash Bail for Most Crimes

(AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill yesterday that would end cash bail in the state and pretrial detention. The criminal justice reform bill would also require the use of bodycams by police and expands instances where police can be stripped of certification.

Police organizations urged Pritzker to veto the bill, claiming it gave criminals an advantage over police.


The centerpiece of the massive law is ending cash bail. Almost everyone would be released from jail while awaiting trial unless a judge decides otherwise.

The reforms also provide more rights for people accused of crimes and victims. People in police custody will be allowed to make three phone calls. While barriers are removed to help more people access the state’s victims’ compensation program.

The police reforms are the most controversial measures.

The legislation increases certification for officers, allows for complaints to be submitted anonymously, and mandates the use of body cameras. Officers would be held responsible for the turning the body cam on.

“There is a concern that this bill establishes a new criminal penalty for police officers who do not use their body cameras when required by law,” said State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis). “I believe that this bill actually makes us as a state, the public less safe.”

Indeed, when New York ended its cash bail system last year, the resulting crime spree had legislators and Governor Cuomo scrambling to reestablish bail for most crimes. Now, bail will be required in New York for:

  • Any crime alleged to have caused a death
  • Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child
  • First-degree grand larceny
  • Failure to register as a third-degree sex offender
  • Second-degree burglary if someone enters the living area of a home
  • Escape from custody

In Illinois, the criminal will only be required to post cash bail if a judge determines they are a “threat to the community.” “If they’re not a risk to the public, then they shouldn’t be in jail,” Ford said. “Now we have to look at the person and the crime to determine whether or not this person is a risk to their fellow peers. If he’s not, if she’s not, then there’s no need for bail.”

So the safety of the public will be determined by whether or not the judge thinks someone does or doesn’t deserve to be held. That’s an awful lot of responsibility to place on a judge—and the police agree.

Illinois House GOP Leader Jim Durkin:

The Governor’s support of House Bill 3653 is an insult to our first responders, law enforcement and the law-abiding citizens of Illinois who want to live free of violence and destruction from the criminal element. It’s clear that Governor Pritzker does not understand this bill and what it means to our criminal justice system. Illinois and its citizens will not be safer because of this bill.

This is a social experiment. But it’s not an experiment on paper using graphs and tables to determine if it’s working. The test of whether the law is working is how many people die because the perpetrator was a danger to the community and some idiot judge released him.

Oh well. Everyone makes mistakes, right?

The left refuses to see sociopaths who rape, rob, and kill as anything but victims of racism. And ordinary people are going to pay for that stupidity.