The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Illinois Supreme Court upholds SAFE-T act, clearing path to end cash bail

On Tuesday morning, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled 5-2 to uphold the SAFE-T Act, making Illinois the first state in the nation to eliminate cash bail.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker spoke out in support of the move, writing that the state can “now move forward with historic reform to ensure that pretrial detainment is determined by the danger an individual poses to the community instead of their ability to pay their way out of jail.”

The SAFE-T Act was originally signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on January 22, 2021. 

According to the state Criminal Justice Information Authority, the Act’s passage initially sought to implement “sweeping reform impacting many aspects of the criminal justice system, including pre-arrest aversion, policing, pretrial, sentencing and corrections.”

At the time of its passage, many statehouse Republicans fought to repeal the comprehensive law, citing that it would contribute to a rise in violent crime.

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    In a statement, state Representative Chapin Rose (IL-51) said the Act’s original draft was so terrible it has been through multiple amendments so far,” but no amount of amendments will fix the SAFE-T Act, it needs to be repealed.”

    Supporters of the Act state that its cash bail provisions are necessary from an equity perspective.

    Someone’s experience with the criminal justice system should not vary based on their income level, said Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in a statement. The SAFE-T Act was intended to address pervasive inequalities in the criminal justice system, in particular the fact that individuals who are awaiting criminal trials – who have not been convicted of a crime and are presumed innocent – may spend extended periods of time incarcerated because they cannot afford to pay cash bail.”

    The SAFE-T Act was set to go into effect on January 1, 2023, but due to legal challenges, it was placed under an emergency hold by the state supreme court. As a result of Thursday’s ruling, the hold will now be lifted on September 18.

    “Our constitution creates a balance between the individual rights of defendants and the individual rights of crime victims,” Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Jane Thies wrote in her opinion. “The act’s pretrial release provisions set forth procedures commensurate with that balance.” 

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    About the Contributor
    Lisa Chasanov, Managing Editor for Reporting
    Howdy! My name is Lisa, my game is delivering quality news to your phone screen, coffee table and recycling bin. Since fall 2022, I have had the honor of writing, editing and often-unsuccessfully pitching content for The Daily Illini. During my time at the 152-year-old news source, I have served as a reporter at our news desk, summer editor and assistant news editor. Most recently, after a rewarding year of bringing you hard-hitting stories such as “Uncut: Dissecting Circumcision” and “‘Surf’s Up’ could be the film of the summer,” I have taken over as managing editor for reporting. In my free time, you can find me performing open heart surgery in dark alleys, communicating telepathically with small woodland creatures and engaging in otherwise dubious activities. If you would like to summon me for any reason, you can find me at [email protected]. Good Yard. Stay tuned for more.