HOW THE PRETRIAL FAIRNESS ACT MAKES OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER

When the Pretrial Fairness Act (a key component of the SAFE-T Act) goes into effect on January 1, 2023, it will transform the legal system and dramatically reduce the number of people incarcerated while awaiting trial. This historic legislation restores the presumption of innocence and makes Illinois safer.

THE PRETRIAL FAIRNESS ACT ENSURES FINANCES WILL NO LONGER DETERMINE FREEDOM

The Pretrial Fairness Act takes money out of the picture. It replaces it with a new process in which a judge will decide whether a person can return to their community while awaiting trial through a fair and robust hearing process. Currently, the primary factor determining whether someone is free pretrial is the amount of money in their wallet, not public safety. By considering the specific circumstances of every case instead of relying on access to money to make release determinations, the Pretrial Fairness Act makes communities safer.

REDUCING INCARCERATION REDUCES CRIME & STRENGTHENS COMMUNITIES

Incarceration has never been an effective public safety strategy; it disrupts people’s lives in ways that destabilize families and communities and make us less safe. Forcing people to remain incarcerated while awaiting trial has devastating effects on their housing, jobs, education, mental health, and more. The negative consequences of pretrial incarceration ripple out and affect entire communities.

  • People incarcerated for as little as 72 hours are 2.5 times more likely to be unemployed one year later, and past incarceration reduces annual income by as much as 40%.

  • Pretrial incarceration can make people more likely to be arrested in the future, even when found innocent.

 

Limiting pretrial incarceration allows people to maintain relationships, jobs, and stability while awaiting trial—and our communities will be safer.

REDUCING OR ELIMINATING MONEY BAIL HAS NOT CAUSED A RISE IN CRIME

No state or city has seen a rise in crime because of reducing or eliminating their use of money bail. Cook County, New York City, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and the federal court system have all drastically reduced or eliminated money bail with no meaningful increase in people missing court or being rearrested while awaiting trial.

 

NO widely accepted evidence shows money bail improves public safety or court appearance rates. Yet, many studies show that bail reform has no negative impact on crime or court appearance rates.

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