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Pretrial Fairness Act

It is no secret that criminal justice reform feels like a slap in the face to police officers. It stands to reason, then, that some police departments would refuse to implement provisions passed in 2021. 

In 2021, Illinois passed the Pretrial Fairness Act, which extended privileges to those awaiting trial and under electronic monitoring. Among other things, it allowed individuals to leave their houses for essential business. During certain periods of certain days, they were allowed to leave the house to run errands. 

However, Cook County has been denying essential days to those who also work. The measure was implemented unilaterally by the Cook County sheriff, and many believe that it is a violation of the law, if not the letter of the law, then at least the spirit of the law. But perhaps that is the point. 

So, basically, some people on electronic monitoring are allowed to go to work or school, but nothing else. Others have no such requirements. Those who are allowed to go to work or school are deprived of their “essential days” due to the policy implemented by the Cook County sheriff. 

To be sure, the sheriff who implemented this policy has been critical of bail reform and other criminal justice reform measures. Most individuals in law enforcement remain critical of any criticism directed at law enforcement. Hence, it becomes a battle against those attempting to fix issues with the criminal justice system and the egos of those working in the criminal justice system. 

Us versus Them

Both sides are provoking the other with rage being stoked from within, and battle lines are being drawn. It is important to understand that regardless of whether or not the bail reforms prove effective at reducing unfairness, they are unlikely to be allowed to succeed. The threat to law enforcement as an industry is considerable. If fewer people are placed in prisons, that is less money for the counties that provide them, which get to list prisoners as part of their population for the purposes of census-taking. This increases the county’s funding. Private prisons are a major industry, with prison support services, such as health care becoming a major industry in states that have public prisons. Partisans on both sides are polarizing powerful actors, and the volume of the rhetoric is drowning out reasonable approaches. 

Whose Way Makes the Most Sense?

It will always be an issue of priorities. If you believe in the Constitution of the United States, you believe people are innocent until proven guilty and that they should have clearly-defined rights under the law when they are accused of a crime. If you believe in the Constitution, then creating a system that is fair to the accused is more important than punishing the guilty.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

David Freidberg represents the interests of Chicago residents charged with crimes. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. 

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