As of September 18, the most extreme cash bail abolition in the country has become the law of the land in the Land of Lincoln. The culmination of more than two years of legislative and judicial conflicts over the SAFE-T Act, which was originally passed in February 2021, the no-cash bail provision means that even more defendants will be released before trial, which means an even greater risk to public safety.
The city of Chicago, which is already well on its way to hitting and even exceeding a post-2019 high in major crimes, will become an even more dangerous place as the no-cash bail provision will open up the door to more lawlessness in the form of rampant shoplifting, robberies, mob actions, low arrest rates, and unanswered 911 calls.
(Related: Check out our earlier coverage about how Illinois is leading the country in implementing the purge.)
Prior to the no-cash bail provision being implemented, all felonies in Illinois were potentially detainable by a judge. Now, low-level "Class 4" felonies such as criminal damage to property are non-detainable.
Proponents of no-cash bail say that their only goal is to keep "nonviolent" offenders out of jail before trial, but as explained by Wirepoints, this is a myth.
"[There's an] important reality that progressives working to ease up on supposedly nonviolent crimes don't seem to appreciate: even 'minor' offenses like retail theft, open-air drug use, and smoking on subway platforms are frequently backed by a threat of violence," explains City Journal's Rafael Mangual about what he calls the myth of "nonviolent crime."
"[W]hat progressives seem not to understand is that 'minor offenses' are often manifestations of the broadly antisocial dispositions of individuals who likely have a much greater propensity for violence than the law-abiding."
While this is certainly based on Mangual's opinion and personal assessment of the situation, he does make a great point about the general disposition of people who are willing to steal, though his statements about someone smoking on a subway platform could be seen as a bit of a stretch.
Another problem with no-cash bail is that judges in Illinois will now have less discretion than they previously did.
"Before the end of cash bail, Illinois had a three-pronged pre-trial hearing system where a judge could (1) detain a defendant due to a 'threat to the community,' (2) release the defendant on his own recognizance, or (3) a middle ground option requiring a defendant to post cash bail," Wirepoints explains.
"The middle ground is key. It let a judge release a defendant prior to trial while imposing a financial incentive to ensure good behavior – whether it was the defendant paying or somebody else posting bail. Without cash bail and the control it grants, judges no longer have such middle ground ... But that's precisely where the new law leaves judges today: just two options: (1) detain or (2) release. Discretion is gone."
Ironically, the loss of bail is also a direct threat to the "equity" that proponents of implementing no-cash bail claim they are trying to establish. Now, judges can decide to err on the side of caution and detain "on-the-fence" defendants who otherwise could have been set free before trial on cash bail – meaning more minority defendants locked up, since many of them are poor.
Then there are the potentially violent defendants who, without cash bail, suddenly have no financial incentive to behave before trial, which increases the risk to the general public.
"And by general public, we mean minorities. They are the overwhelming victims of crime. Over 95 percent of homicides in Chicago are inflicted on minorities: 80 percent Black and 15 percent Hispanic victims ... For overall violent crimes, Black and Hispanic minorities are the victims 80 percent of the time."
America is quickly becoming a lawless, failed state. Learn more at Collapse.news.
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