Criminalizing Poverty Blog


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A Step Forward for Bail Reform in Cook County, Illinois

Chief Judge Timothy Evans of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois issued an order reforming bail and pretrial procedures in the county on July 17, 2017.
The order, which will take effect September 18, 2017, specifies that information should be requested before a defendant's initial bail hearing regarding their ability to pay. Courts will use a risk assessment to determine reasonable conditions of release, and there will be a presumption that conditions of release will be non-monetary and involve the least restrictive measures available. If monetary bail is deemed necessary, facts should be presented in court indicating that the amount of bail is not oppressive and that the defendant's ability to pay has been considered.
Chief Judge Evans emphasized that the order "is intended to ensure no defendant is held in custody prior to trial solely because the defendant cannot afford to post bail."
Read the order here and Cook County's press release here.

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