500 signatures reached
To: Illinois Supreme Court on Pretrial Practices via Hon. Robbin J. Stuckert, Chair
Let the Public Have a Voice in Illinois Pretrial Justice Reform
Dear Hon. Robbin J. Stuckert and members of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices:
As residents of Illinois, we are encouraged that state officials and stakeholders have come together to improve our unfair pretrial justice system, and we have high hopes for meaningful reform. We are concerned, however, at the lack of opportunity for directly impacted communities to receive information on this process and provide essential insight on how to best improve pretrial practices. We request that a public hearing take place during the summer of 2019, allowing Illinois residents to be in dialogue with members of the commission as recommendations are developed. Will you join us in conversation and collaboration?
Why is this important?
Right now, thousands of people are incarcerated in Illinois jails simply because they cannot afford to pay money bonds. More than 90% of people in Illinois jails are detained pretrial—a considerably higher rate than the national rate of 67%. The Coalition to End Money Bond is organizing to end wealth-based pretrial incarceration, which disproportionately hurts impoverished people and Black and Brown communities.
Pretrial detention leads to lost jobs, lost housing, and even lost custody of children. In addition, people detained pretrial are more likely to be convicted and receive longer sentences compared to people released pretrial with similar backgrounds and charges. Every year, approximately 267,421 Illinois residents are jailed while awaiting trial.
In 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court established a Commission on Pretrial Practices to review this unjust system. In December 2019, the commission will release a report with official findings and recommendations for improvement. These recommendations could include changes to state law, new Supreme Court rules, or even constitutional amendments. Currently, this process is taking place behind closed doors.
Successful, transformative bail reform must restore the presumption of innocence for all accused people and eliminate the vast racial and socio-economic disparities that currently define our criminal justice system while greatly reducing the number of people held in jails. Meaningful reform must be shaped by community members who understand our own needs and what investment in public safety really looks like. Give us a voice in the future of pretrial justice! For more information, please visit endmoneybond.org.