Illinois prosecutors, law enforcement navigate Pre-Trial Fairness Act challenges
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Local law enforcement agencies are running into unforeseen circumstances nine days after Illinois becomes the first state to do away with cash bail.
The State’s attorney and Sheriff’s office say they never expected the adjustment to come seamlessly. Both agencies are communicating frequently and working together to answer questions as they come.
“Those who are detained awaiting trial, if we don’t take them to trial within 90 days, they’re released. That’s an unrealistic expectation and I think that could potentially put dangerous people back out on the street,” said J. Hanley, Winnebago County State’s Attorney. “I trust that our legislators will listen and hopefully fix what needs fixing.”
Another problem facing the county: a crowded jail.
“On the 19th, we had 750 inmates and as of today, were at 764,” said Gary Caruana, Winnebago County Sheriff.
“I think everybody thought that day 1, the jail was going from a pop of 770 to 400. That’s not the way it’s going to happen, that’s not the way the system works,” said Tom Lawson, Chief Deputy Circuit Clerk for the 17th Judicial Circuit Court. “We’re 2 weeks in, you have to give the system a chance to start rolling.”
One reason law enforcement thinks they may see an increase in detainees is because more people are required to wait for a first hearing. However, it will take more time to determine a concrete answer.
Copyright 2023 WIFR. All rights reserved.