Illinois General Assembly Passes Criminal Justice Reforms Bill [Video]

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House Bill 3653, created by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus was passed Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, by the General Assembly and now awaits Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s approval.  This bill will bring an end to cash bail in Illinois, new police accountability protocols, modernizing sentencing laws, instituting a certification and decertification system of police officers statewide, and amplifying law enforcement training standards.

Gov. Pritzker in a statement said:

I was proud to make ending cash bail and modernizing sentencing laws a legislative priority of my administration, and I have long pledged my support to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in their efforts to pass not just criminal justice reform and police accountability measures, but also to truly root out the systemic racism that pulses through all our nation’s institutions by pursuing greater equity in healthcare, higher goals in education, and deeper investments in economic opportunity for communities that have for too long been left out and left behind.

What Does This Bill Include?

The state’s current bail system is set up in a way that directly affects low-income people of color who are awaiting trial. Senator Robert Peters, chair of the Senate Black Caucus expressed that people of color in this state have spent time in jail only because they could not afford to pay their bail.

The Illinois Cook County State’s Attorney chimed in by praising the passing of the bill calling it a step in the right direction. She feels that eliminating cash bail will end the practice of locking up non-violent offenders because they can not afford to pay bail while also preventing violent offenders that can afford bail from being released.

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police

Ed Wojcicki with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police thinks that this measure will cause problems. Wojcicki feels that there is a need to be more serious and give more latitude for judges to determine if someone might be a danger to society before letting them go on bail.

The bill package also includes a requirement that all police officers wear body cameras by 2025, elimination of all police chokeholds, and an end to suspended licenses for failure to pay.

Republican Rep. Tom Weber denounced the passing of the bill calling it dangerous. He says:

I would say I am shocked, but this has become the norm in Springfield – wait until the last moment and then drop a bill that is more than 700 pages on the floor, preventing even a basic level of public review, Make no mistake, this legislation is dangerous and makes every community less safe.

Written by Omari Jahi

Sources:

NBC Chicago: HB 3653: Police, Criminal Justice Reforms Bill Passed by Illinois General Assembly

CBS Chicago: Opposition For Illinois Police Reform Bill That Holds Officers Liable For Civil Suits When Violating Constitutional Rights, Requires Body Cameras, Suzanne Le Mignot

WCIA: Police reform bill passes state House and Senate, headed to governor’s desk, Justin Fowler

MSN News: “Police reform” bill introduced to Illinois General Assembly,

ABC News: Police reform bill passes Illinois General Assembly, heads to Pritzker’s desk for signature,

Featured and Top Image by Chris Light Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License

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