Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed legislation making Illinois the first state to end cash bail payments for people seeking release from jail as they await their day in court. It’s part of a sweeping package of criminal justice reforms signed into law Monday. Illinois state Representative Justin Slaughter called the legislation progress against a “criminal justice system rooted in racism,” in a state where Black people make up 14% of the population but more than half of all prisoners.
Rep. Justin Slaughter: “With this bill, we take aim at our overly punitive sentencing policies. We provide more judicial discretion for mandatory minimums. We offer alternatives to custody. And, of course — and we’re going to be saying it over and over again — we end our unfair cash bail system, a system that relies on one’s financial ability or inability to post bond.”