Cashless Bail Deemed Constitutional By State Supreme Court

The cashless bail system in Illinois was deemed constitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday, opening the door for more thorough criminal justice reform.

The SAFE-T Act’s cashless bail provision reportedly passed the state supreme court with a 5 to 2 vote.

Chief Justice Mary Ann Theis argued that monetary bail is not necessary under the Illinois Constitution to assure the appearance of criminal defendants for trials or to safeguard the public.

A federal judge has decided that a new law must take effect on September 18.

Because it did not provide that all people shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, a court in Kankakee County concluded in December that the Act was unconstitutional. 

The state’s highest court has overturned that ruling.

Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, made a statement after the judgment saying they could go on with historic change to guarantee pretrial detainment is based on an individual’s risk to the community rather than their capacity to pay their way out of jail.

Even with the new regulation, defendants can still be jailed for severe offenses if considered dangerous to society.

Don Tracy, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, was quoted as saying that he had reservations about the bill because of the risk of releasing dangerous and violent offenders. Tracy said that this occurs when officers are being attacked and when families of victims of crime in Illinois are already fearful for their safety.

However, some law enforcement authorities claim that most state jail prisoners pose a risk to the public.

St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant James Hendricks told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it will not be where most people think it will be. According to the sheriff, more than eighty-five percent of the inmates here are dangerous felons.

According to Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Secretary Donald Hackett, this move will affect the morale of police personnel.