Illinois governor signs criminal justice reform bill into law

Regional News

CHICAGO, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV)  Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker signed a historic criminal justice reform bill into law, creating many changes including an end to cash bails.

The new bill signed into law has not been met with statewide acceptance as many in law enforcement have concerns.

The new 700-page law aims to reform criminal justice policies in Illinois and one for one local police chief, the length of the legislation is a problem.

“One of the problems with this bill overall is it just crams so many different things together and pushed it all through without completely refining each one of the those,” said Robinson police chief Chad Weaver.

Pritzker believes the new legislation will create positive change and be a step in the right direction.

“Transforming the pretrial detention system so that low income people aren’t thrown behind bars, while only the wealthy walk free,” said Pritzker. “Diverting low-level drug crimes into substance treatment programs and reducing excessive stays in prison. This criminal justice package advances all of those goals and more.”

The new law will get rid of cash bail in the state by 2023 and allow defendants to be released at a judge’s discretion. Though chief Weaver says he understands the idea behind it, he is worried about how it will impact the general public.

“Ending cash bails as it is in this particular bill is my greatest concern,” said chief Weaver. “I think that has the greatest impact on public safety. The safety of the communities, I think that’s where the greatest danger comes from.”

Many parts of the new law will take effect on July 1, but some changes will be phased in over the next four years.

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