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Gov. Pritzker signs sweeping Illinois criminal justice overhaul, which will end cash bail starting in 2023

Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

“We are finally ending the injustice of dangerous people buying their freedom,” Rinehart said.

Foxx thanked lawmakers for “rejecting the false premise that we can either have public safety or criminal justice reform.”

“The reality is you cannot have public safety without criminal justice reform,” she said.

But police unions and leadership organizations, including the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, have broadly criticized the changes, arguing that they will make communities less safe by making it easier for people to commit crimes while awaiting trial and putting too many restrictions on police.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition, comprising those groups, issued a statement calling the new law “a blatant move to punish an entire, honorable profession that will end up hurting law-abiding citizens the most.”

“Because we are sworn to protect and serve the public, we sincerely hope that we will not be proven right about this new law, that it won’t cause police officers to leave the profession in droves and handcuff those who remain so they can’t stop crimes against people and property,” the coalition said.

 

Republican lawmakers also roundly criticized the effort, with GOP Sen. John Curran of Downers Grove, a former assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, calling the measure “hyperpartisan.”

“This 700-plus page proposal was rammed through in the middle of the night with just hours left in a lame-duck session without the transparency and discourse expected in a democratic process,” Curran said in a statement.

“There are some positives in this legislation — specifically the changes that make it easier to reprimand and decertify bad actors in law enforcement who have broken the public’s trust. Unfortunately, the negatives, which could have been further negotiated had the sponsors been open to bipartisan support, will undoubtedly make our communities less safe.”

Sen. Elgie Sims, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the legislation, said the proposal was put together through conversations and negotiations that included nine public hearings throughout the fall.

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