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Articles Tagged with criminal justice reform

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. 

spenser-h-194645-copy-300x195Chicago is a city that has long been criticized for failing on transparency, accountability, and justice issues. Some of these criticisms are not based on fact but are rather like urban myths. They grow and have lives of their own, the facts of the matter being largely inconsequential. The city has adopted a unique approach that takes into consideration the views and perspectives of those who work within the criminal justice system. Hence, there are proposals for a sitting or retired judge to oversee the entire process. This inclusive approach brings the police into the fold rather than treating them as sworn enemies of civil liberties.

Other cities have a somewhat different approach to reform. They consider their own law enforcement agencies to be fundamentally anti-people. Therefore, the reform process is necessarily imposed on them rather than being a natural progression towards organizational development. In this case, the format is that of a public inquiry with all the requisite appearance of interrogations and investigations.

Not surprisingly, some members of the Chicago police forces are not entirely pleased with the latter approach. They believe that they too are part of the reform agenda and desire to provide high-quality services to the citizenry. Even when mistakes are made, they are nothing more than that. It is not a case of corrupt agencies taking away the rights of the people.

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