(The Center Square) – An advocacy group in favor of eliminating money bonds in Illinois is taking issue with a new political ad critical of the forthcoming law.
The ad is produced by a group called People Who Play By the Rules PAC and notes that district attorneys across the state are opposed to the Pretrial Fairness Act.
"Thanks to [Gov. J.B. Pritzker], the lawlessness of Chicago will soon be the law statewide," a narrator in the ad says. "That's why 100 of Illinois' 102 state's attorneys oppose Pritzker's mandatory release of violent criminals. Stop Chicago violence from coming to your town. Vote no on Pritzker."
Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts says the ad is dedicated to spreading fear, not promoting public safety, much less justice.
“Their ad shows multiple video clips of violent crime, and is designed to fan the flames of racism and fear. It is particularly disturbing that the ad uses a video clip with a picture of a Puerto Rican flag in its montage, stoking racial resentment and the association of people of color with violent crime,” the group said in a statement. “The money bond system has devastated Black, Brown and poor communities for decades by causing people to lose jobs, housing and custody of their children. Money bond doesn't keep us safe, it just locks up poor people who cannot afford to purchase their freedom.”
Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow has been an outspoken critic of eliminating cash bail. He said the law will allow criminals to walk the streets.
“If that bill goes into effect, literally our hands will be tied, the police officers hands will be tied, and what you see in Chicago we will have here,” Glasgow said.
Pritzker and fellow Democrats have faced criticism from Republicans for the SAFE-T Act and the ending of cash bail, legislation that was passed in January 2021 and spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.
“We do not want someone in jail because they were arrested for a low-level crime like shoplifting to be sitting in jail for months or maybe even years,” Pritzker said.
Prosecutors are required to submit a request for detention if the offender committed a crime that poses a threat to public safety. The state also is required to provide each suspect a hearing within 48 hours to determine if the suspect should be released.
Glasgow said it’s nearly impossible to provide evidence needed within that time period since it takes time to review the evidence.
“You as the electorate need to demand that anybody running for election in November is going to vote to repeal this bill,” Glasgow said. “It will destroy the state of Illinois.”