State Legislators, Anti-Domestic Violence Advocates Highlight Need and Statewide Support for the Pretrial Fairness Act As Veto Session Begins


State Legislators, Anti-Domestic Violence Advocates Highlight Need and Statewide Support for the Pretrial Fairness Act As Veto Session Begins

130+ organizations representing thousands of Illinoisans sent an open letter to legislators urging them to only pass amendments to the Pretrial Fairness portions of the SAFE-T Act that remain true to the promise of this historic racial justice legislation.

Springfield, Ill.– Elected officials stood with anti-domestic & sexual violence advocates and directly impacted people from around the state to highlight voters’ overwhelming support for the Pretrial Fairness Act, which ends money bond in Illinois and includes critical reforms to increase the
safety of survivors while reducing pretrial jailing.


More than 130 organizations signed onto an open letter to Illinois legislators urging them to only pass amendments to the Pretrial Fairness Act that uphold its core principles of racial, social and economic
justice and to reject the legislation put forth by the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association.


“The Pretrial Fairness Act is a product of the people, and that’s why we saw voters reject the lies and fear mongering spread by Dan Proft and billionaire Trump donor Richard Uihlein, which many Republican
allies tried to legitimize during the midterm elections,” said State Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “The reality is, there was no red wave not only because voters can see through the lies, but because there has
been significant momentum behind pretrial justice reforms that the status quo has been ignoring for years.”


Anti-domestic and sexual violence advocates have been among the loudest champions of the Pretrial Fairness Act, and have participated in negotiations from the very beginning.


“While Republicans tried to convince voters that our collective safety was at stake, domestic abuse survivors know all too well that the current system is what threatens our safety,” said Vikki Smith, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Today, there are abusers who are allowed to walk free pretrial without ever stepping foot in front of a judge. The Pretrial Fairness Act ensures that a judge must consider the evidence and give victims advanced notice before their abuser is released. This gives victims the critical time needed to put a
plan in place to protect themselves.”


Numerous steps have been taken to ensure that the implementation of the
reforms in the Pretrial Fairness Act are as seamless as possible, including that implementation was delayed for an entire year.


“Not only did we intentionally build in a two-year planning runway in advance of the end of the money bond system, but the implementation task force of policy makers, law enforcement, advocates and legislators has been diligently working all year to perfect the legislation and help
counties prepare for changes,” said State Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago). “Some State’s Attorneys have been working to prepare for the new system, and others chose to bury their heads in the sand and assume
that a rich billionaire would save them from having to do their jobs.”


“The bottom line,” said State Rep. Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago), “is that ending cash bail will not only restore the presumption of innocence, but it will keep communities across Illinois safer by keeping people employed, housed, and out of the system if they do not pose a risk to others.”


The Pretrial Fairness Act will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and legislators are considering amendments to clarify the language of the legislation during veto session this month.

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