IL SAFE-T Act goes into effect 1 Jan: No cash bail and lots of other good stuff

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File

Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot, while torquing off the suburbs by dumping bused-in illegal migrants on them, might be doing those migrants the biggest favor they’ve had yet. She’s getting them out of the city before Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s latest and greatest experiment in equitable justice becomes enforceable, and the city proper turns into even more of a real-life Heironymous Bosch Hell-scape.


…Republican state legislators last week again aired their grievances with the 746-page SAFE-T Act. One of its many provisions will end cash bail, where a defendant is required to pay a percentage of the bail set by a judge to be released from prison — making Illinois the first state to do so.

…The broad-ranging SAFE-T Act also addresses police training, what equipment they have in the field, and makes reforms to prisoner rights.

Law enforcement is not permitted to purchase military equipment such as firearms of .50-caliber or higher and weaponized vehicles or aircraft. Officers are also not allowed to use chokeholds but are ordered to intervene when another officer is using excessive force.

By 2025, all law enforcement agencies will be required to have body cameras — these cameras have to be turned on when an officer is in uniform and responding to a call.

Detainees can make three phone calls within the first three hours of their time at the police station. Before handing over their cell phone, inmates can find these numbers in their cell phone contact list.

…Whether or not a detainee qualifies for pretrial release depends on how the judge decides. If the suspect is deemed a flight risk or a risk of endangerment to the community, he or she could remain behind bars.

To their credit, Republicans in the statehouse are fighting this tooth and nail, asking law enforcement for input in an effort to force revisions, and outright calling for repeal in one instance. Mayors around the state are absolutely apoplectic and with good reason. “No cash bail” after a judge okays your release sounds…well, not great, but reasonable enough. Until you hear the list of offenses that qualify for “no cash bail” consideration – honest to God, your jaw will hit the floor. Listen up, as Mayor Keith Pekau of Orland Village elucidates:


He expands on it here:

…”But it doesn’t end here,” said Pekau. “There is currently a bill in front of the house to remove school resource officers from our schools, which means no school resource officer at Sandburg High School. The city of Chicago has already done this,” he said. “I personally do not want to see the city of Chicago become the standard for how we conduct public safety because they have abandoned their police officers, abandoned their residents and created a war zone full of criminals.”

A Chicago-Tribune op-ed on Friday took the porcine Pritzker to the woodshed over the impact this catch and release act will have on the drug trade. It could conceivably explode. Who am I kidding? No “conceivably” about it – it’s gonna blow, big time. Drug mules won’t be in jail any length of time, so trafficking isn’t impacted at all, and your workforce stays relatively steady. Thanks, Democrats! Nothing like help you can count on in this day and age.

This past summer, Gov. J.B. Pritzker claimed, “Illinois is leading the way in addressing the war on drugs as no state has before.” In reality, with his signature on the misnamed SAFE-T Act, Pritzker and his legislative partners have opened up Illinois to drug cartels and traffickers like never before.

Included in Pritzker’s crime bill is a ticking time bomb set to go off at the start of next year that will have serious ramifications for law-abiding citizens and give drug cartels free rein on Illinois’ streets.

The elimination of cash bail, which will begin Jan. 1, will have wide-ranging consequences throughout our criminal justice system. With the elimination of cash bail, criminal suspects will be detained before trial only in the case of forcible felonies that are nonprobational or unless they are considered a flight risk or a danger to someone in the community. Many violent crimes, including robbery, vehicular invasion, driving under the influence causing death and second-degree murder, do not qualify under this law. This policy is a horrible slap in the face to victims and neighborhoods desperately seeking safety.

So how does this affect the war on drugs? Under Pritzker’s SAFE-T Act, it’s possible drug kingpins, smugglers, traffickers or distributors of illegal drugs won’t be detained before trial, no matter the quantity of deadly substances they are accused of possessing. Astonishingly, Pritzker and the Democrats don’t seem to believe there is a connection between drug dealers, street gangs, cartels and the gun violence our state sees daily.


As for the gun battles in the streets that Lightfoot is so fond of blaming on lax gun sale regs in neighboring Indiana, well…she’ll see a lot more of that. They’ll have no reason to stop unless they’re dropped. As for the advocate talking point that a “judge still has to make the determination,” which was briefly touched on in the first quote set, Dupage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin says not exactly. Judges do NOT have the discretion to hold an individual unless they are a “willful risk of imminent flight.” For the crimes that are eligible under this act? That’s the ONLY pre-condition a judge can remand them for?! *gulp*

There are also onerous restrictions on law enforcement, and myriad training requirements to be met. As the Executive Director for the Association of Chiefs of Police put it:

“We’re perfectly fine with saying hold us more accountable, make us be transparent, require more training,” Wojcicki said. “We just tried to educate the legislature that what they wrote down in the law was very difficult to implement on the street.

Legislators had their clenched fists in the air when this passed, so you know it’s slanted in one direction. Even after some revisions, it’s touted as:

Proponents say the reform is a step toward making the justice system equitable and fair for Black, Latino and minority communities who have been disproportionately harmed by it.

Who’s going to be “disproportionately HARMED” now? Oh. That same community. Only worse. Because the people in their community who prey relentlessly ON THEM won’t be arrested, incarcerated, and removed. They’ll pop right back into the mix after a couple of hours, and be spraying four-year-olds in car seats, grandmothers on the porch, or college students walking home, with impunity. Not to mention the butchering each other they do every day as a part of their chosen way of life. It won’t take long before Mayor Lightfoot will have to look at Chicago instead of point fingers at Gary, IN. She might not even recognize the place, it’s been so long since she’s looked at it.


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