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Illinois becomes first state to pass ‘The Purge’ law


Illinois is passing legislation that some say will be landmark. Illinois is seeking to be the first state in the United States to abolish cash bail. And the consequences of passing such a law have many believing the state could mirror the horror movie “The Purge.” In the film, citizens had 24 hours to commit any crime they wanted.

On January 1, 2023, the “SAFE-T” law will go into effect in the State of Illinois. This law will get rid of the cash bond system in its entirety. The name SAFE-T is an acronym for ‘Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today’. Those who introduced the law believe it will reduce arrests and limit those who are incarcerated for the crime.

Photo credit: Ron Lach

Photo credit: Ron Lach

Non-custodial offenses

There are 12 non-custodial offenses for which the new law would end cash bail. The law includes second degree murder, arson, drug-induced homicide, robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, burglary, intimidation, aggravated driving under the influence, flight and escape, drug offenses and threats against a public official.

“I am very concerned about an increase in violent crime. But again, I want to emphasize that there is still time to fix it. And state prosecutors have been working very hard like us for a year and a half to fix this law. It’s very fixable, where we can still eliminate the cash bond but make sure the right people are in custody and all the other people who aren’t a danger get out,” the prosecutor said. State, Robert Berlin.

The Safe-T Act would allow criminals temporary release for the crimes listed above. And if prosecutors fail to show “clear and convincing evidence” that the alleged could be a threat to a specific individual. Unfortunately, the consequences of the Safe-T Act impact how quickly arrested felons must be dealt with. Because prosecutors would only have 48 hours to decide whether the alleged criminal should be released. Investigators believe 48 hours is not enough time to collect valuable evidence from surveillance cameras, lab work and forensic research.

Reason for the SAFE-T law

As controversial as this law may be, let’s look at how it happened. For many years in the United States, many have been calling for the abolition of the cash bond system. Three out of five people who are in prison have not been convicted of any crime. That’s about half a million people languishing in jail cells before there’s even a trial due to lack of investigation and research.

The Center For American Progress believes that the cash bail system in most jurisdictions in the United States “criminalizes poverty.” Most detainees cannot pay bail and spend weeks or even months awaiting trial. This system mainly affects communities of color who already have all the odds on their side across the country.

Therefore, “studies show that pretrial detention may actually increase the likelihood that a person will be re-arrested upon release, perpetuating an endless cycle of arrests and incarcerations,” the institute said.

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