Illinois Eliminates Cash Bail

As of Monday, September 18, Illinois has become the first state to eliminate cash bail— a policy that allows for the release of a suspect ahead of criminal trial on a monetary basis. The elimination of the cash bail addresses the disproportionate impact that the practice has had on people of color. The Associated Press reports that a 2022 federal civil rights study observed that Black men are likely to receive bail amounts that are 35% higher than white men on average, while Latino people receive bail amounts 19% higher than white men. The 2022 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) report states that between the years of 1970 and 2015, there was a fivefold increase in the number of people jailed before trial. More than 60% of defendants were detained before their trial, out of inability to afford bail; nearly 74% of the 631,000 people jailed daily, are still awaiting trial (USCCR). There are concerns surrounding the idea that there would be an uptick in crime as defendants await their trials undetained. However, New Jersey data indicates that as they moved away from a full cash bail system, defendants charged with new crimes or who failed to appear in court remained steady with the amount presented when cash bail was still mandatory, (Savage, Williams). 

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