ILLINOIS, USA — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a criminal justice reform bill into law Monday, making the state the first in the country to abolish cash bail.
House Bill 3653 was signed into law Feb. 22, 2021. The bill was introduced and passed in the legislature Jan. 13, 2021.
Washington D.C. abolished cash bond and New Jersey has a restricted version of cash bond.
Pritzker noted him and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton outlined three criminal justice priorities for their administration that HB 3653 accomplishes:
"Transforming the pre-trial detention system so low-income people aren't thrown behind bars while only the wealthy walk free, diverting low level drug crimes into substance treatment programs and reducing excessive stays in prison," Pritzker said.
Watch the full scheduling of speeches here:
State Sen. Robert Peters (D-13) defended the abolition of cash bail in the state saying the bill strengthens judicial discretion when determining if someone is a threat to others.
"Money does not determine whether is a threat," Peters said. "The Illinois Coalition of Domestic Violence has stated, 'This is criminal justice reform that puts survivor safety first.' To anyone that is a survivor... this was focused on your needs."
The governor also addressed the strong opposition the bill faced.
"Opponents of this law, don't want any change, don't believe there is injustice in the system and are preying upon fear of change to lie and fear monger in defense of the status quo," Pritzker said.
"All Illinoisans will live in a safer and more justice with this law in the books."
The governor further noted his administration has expunged half-a-million low level marijuana records and has reduced the state's prison population down by 25% since the start of the pandemic.
The bill includes 764 pages of policy. You can read the full text of the bill here.