Illinois became the first state to eliminate cash bail after the Illinois Supreme Court last month upheld a provision of the SAFE-T Act that abolished cash bail as a condition of pretrial release. Now some Illinois residents are saying they’re afraid that the state will no longer be safe, Fox News reported.
Illinois proposed abolishing bail as part of its 2021 criminal justice reform measure the SAFE-T Act. The legislation was part of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ “four pillars” agenda to improve the lives of minority communities in the wake of the in-custody death of George Floyd in 2020.
The SAFE-T Act went into effect on January 1, however, the elimination of cash bail was placed on hold while it was challenged in court.
ABC News reported in July that the state Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s December ruling that found the law abolishing cash bail violated the constitutional provision that “all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties.”
In writing for the majority, Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis said abolishing cash bail honors the balance between the rights of the victim and the rights of the defendant.
But some Southern Illinois residents told Fox News that they are fearful that ending cash bail will only increase crime in the state while further endangering its citizens.
One resident named Warren told Fox that the state has already become a “lawless” “wasteland” and abolishing cash bail will “make the situation worse.” He said if the criminals who break into people’s houses in the area are arrested and are let go without bail, they will be able to “disappear.”
Another resident told Fox that while she thinks ending cash bail is probably a good thing for a lot of crimes but believes it is a “bad idea” for “major crimes.”
One woman was not so torn. She told Fox that abolishing cash bail is “stupid,” explaining that the state already has enough criminals “as it is.”
Another resident told Fox that eliminating cash bail is “against the Constitution” and said it should concern taxpayers.
Warren also told Fox that he is considering leaving Illinois. He said the state is “falling apart” and it won’t get “any better.”