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SAFE-T Act coverage roundup

Friday, Oct 28, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Loyola University of Chicago Center for Criminal Justice

One surprising finding coming out of our research on Illinois’ implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act—which, among other big changes, will eliminate the use of cash bail when it goes into effect next year—is that the current cash bail system results in much less pretrial detention than is generally assumed. This is true even when the charges are serious. Statewide, on any given day, almost two-thirds of those with pending felony charges are not in jail custody or under any kind of supervision or monitoring.

This finding casts doubt on a central assumption behind much of the current criticism of the PFA—that the cash bail system protects the community by keeping dangerous people behind bars until their cases are resolved. What we’ve found is that, while it’s true that many people are jailed under the current cash bail system, most jail stays are brief. Most people pass through jails, being held for relatively short periods before bonding out—and that includes people charged with the kinds of serious offenses that are designated “detainable” under the PFA.

We don’t have statewide numbers for this. But data from a range of urban, suburban, and rural counties we’ve examined so far suggest that, under current practice, the majority of those charged with detainable offenses are released within a week.

More

* Semafor

More Americans say crime is up in their area than at any point over the last five decades, according to new polling from Gallup.

The survey, conducted in October, found 56% of respondents reported crime has increased over the last year in their neighborhood, up from 51% in 2021, and just 38% in 2020. 78% say there’s more crime in the country overall, similar to last year.

Public safety is playing a starring role in the midterms as Republicans highlight crime in campaigns and promising a tougher approach.

Not coincidentally, Gallup found the increase in perceived crime was driven by a major shift among Republicans —73% said local crime was up last year, versus 51% of independents and 42% of Democrats, whose views have barely moved over the last two years. […]

Philip Bump of the Washington Post tracked a massive explosion in crime coverage over the Fall led by Fox News, but followed by other networks, as Republican campaigns pivoted to the issue in ads and messaging. A story in Bloomberg earlier this year documented a similar phenomenon in New York City, where media coverage and voter fears surged alongside high-profile attacks in subways and a crime-focused campaign by eventual Mayor Eric Adams — even as murders hovered around 2009 levels, a time when the city was widely hailed as a national model for crimefighting.

To give you an example of how intense the media coverage is, check out this story from WBBM Radio

A man was robbed Wednesday night while dining at a restaurant in Streeterville, Chicago police said.

The man, 52, was sitting inside a restaurant in the 500 block of North Michigan Avenue about 7:30 p.m. when another man walked inside and approached his table from where he grabbed the 52-year-old’s cell phone and personal items, then fled the area, police said.

No injuries or arrests were reported.

I was in Paris many years ago and was sitting at a cafe. I put my mobile phone on the table and the waiter advised me to put it away because of the danger of theft. It’s just kinda crazy to me that something like that is elevated to a news story. Fear sells, I guess.

* New Proft radio ad


Script

Pritzker: “Opponents of this law don’t want any change…and are preying upon fear of change to lie and fear monger in defense of the status quo.”

“Fearmongers and liars.” That’s what JB Pritzker called the opponents of his Purge Law.

Among the opponents are 100 of Illinois’ 102 county state’s attorneys, Democrats and Republicans alike.

Pritzker has claimed, “there is no such thing as non-detainable offenses.”

Adding, “No one gets out…if they do that’s on prosecutors.”

“Well obviously that’s not the truth,” said fellow Democrat and Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow “for the vast majority of these people committing forcible felonies, they can’t be detained.”

Here’s what will happen in Will County to the 500 prison inmates with pending cases according to Glasgow: “About half of them would walk out on day one and that’s not on the prosecutor, that’s on the statute…It’s the most lenient criminal law in the country.”

When it comes to your personal safety, who do you believe? Punish Pritzker. Purge him from Illinois Politics.

Paid for by People Who Play By The Rules PAC.

* More…

    * Civic Federation demands more transparency in Chicago Police Department spending: Civic Federation President Laurence Msall said it is “very difficult to track how much is going into policing,” how much is tied to complying with a federal consent decree and where exactly the nearly $100 million increase in the Chicago Police Department’s $1.87 billion budget is going. … “There’s just a lack of transparency and a lack of data on how the police department allocates staff, whether we have adequate staff and what we need to do to make sure we have adequate staff in the future. … We urge the city to conduct and publish an independent workforce allocation study of the police department.”

    * Sheriff Tom Dart wants more restrictions for people on electronic monitoring: Electronic monitors can track where defendants are located, and Dart told county commissioners during yearly budget hearings on Wednesday that he has to “literally shut their machine off” during those 48 hours of “essential movement.” There is nothing in the SAFE-T Act that mandates Dart turn off machines or stop surveillance — the law only requires that people on EM have the ability to leave their house for essential tasks.

    * DuPage County Board narrowly rejects resolution supporting changes to the SAFE-T Act: Members of the Democratic-controlled board did not dispute that there were areas of the SAFE-T Act that needed fine-tuning, but said the board should wait to see what state lawmakers do in the upcoming veto session first.

    * Little common ground between Attorney General Kwame Raoul and challenger Tom DeVore - The incumbent and his Republican opponent on the November ballot are on opposite ends of, among other things, the fight over a major criminal justice reform signed into law last year: “Everywhere you go, people are wanting to talk about crime,” DeVore said.

    * Fox 32: Illinois SAFE-T Act: New law is a ‘get out of jail free card,’ former prosecutor says

    * GOP candidates: SAFE-T Act will only cause new problems

    * Senate candidates McConchie, Peterson debate SAFE-T Act, abortion at Palatine forum: “(The Act addresses) the chaotic situation that we have in the criminal justice system, where dangerous criminals can pay their way out back onto the street, even before a police officer has an opportunity to finish the paperwork,” the North Barrington resident said. But McConchie, the Republican leader in the state senate, said the legislation makes Illinois less safe. “It ties the hands of judges who are working to try to keep us safe” and keep the most dangerous people in jail, the Hawthorn Woods resident said.

    * Beyond the heated rhetoric about bail, what else is in the SAFE-T Act? The massive criminal justice bill that ends cash bail in Illinois also supports crime victims and increases police oversight: 1. Expands services for victims of crime … 2. Increases police oversight and accountability … 3. Ends so-called “prison gerrymandering” … 4. Narrows the felony murder law … 5. Requires documentation of deaths in custody

    * Joliet police chief points to new police oversight under SAFE-T Act: “While I’m not in favor of the state SAFE-T Act, it does have certain measures in it that provide oversight and review,” Evans said. “I don’t think everyone understands that.”

    * Fox News: America’s ‘most dangerous’ law? Illinois candidate warns of ‘anarchy’ after criminal justice overhaul

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28 Comments
  1. - Rabid - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 11:49 am:

    The current crime spree is with cash bail


  2. - Techie - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 11:50 am:

    It’s almost like the Republicans will gin up any controversy that they feel they can get the better side of, no matter the underlying reality. It’s almost like they advocate very little that would actually help the average person, and have to invent problems they can “fix.”


  3. - Nuke The Whales - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 11:56 am:

    ==We don’t have statewide numbers for this. But data from a range of urban, suburban, and rural counties we’ve examined so far suggest that, under current practice, the majority of those charged with detainable offenses are released within a week.==
    Gosh, if only the billionaire governor who signed the bill could have put two nickels into defending it before it got dogpiled on by the opposition party.


  4. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 11:57 am:

    The lack of data in the discussion is telling.

    In reality, all crime is down significantly since the 1990’s. The recent trend shows property crimes remaining low and an uptick in gun related crimes (a small percentage of the total. Of course, this information is problematic for the Republicans since their message is that guns aren’t a problem.

    This overview was on NPR yesterday: https://www.npr.org/2022/10/27/1131825858/us-crime-data-midterm-elections

    Crime stats are here: https://crime-data-explorer.app.cloud.gov/pages/explorer/crime/crime-trend

    It is useful to change the “from” to 1985 to see the longer-term context.


  5. - Ares - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 11:59 am:

    There are a lot of marginal cases in which defendants with prior history of criminal convictions (such as DUIs, license suspensions, and gun crimes) are released on similar charges solely because they could post bail. Abolishing cash bail may have the unintended effect of increasing jail populations. Will the law-and-order candidate wannabes and the GOP “dark money” crowd agree to higher taxation for an increasing jail population, especially when the R Kellys and Jeffery Epsteins of the world can no longer post bail? Be careful what you wish for.


  6. - Norseman - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:00 pm:

    Facts from Loyola University of Chicago Center for Criminal Justice the public doesn’t want any stink’n facts.

    Throughout my career we were hammered with the idiom, “perception is reality.” The problem for finding solutions is that reality isn’t what folks perceive. Sadly, this perception is shaped by propagandists who benefit for distorting reality for their own benefit.


  7. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:05 pm:

    Since he has admitted the SAFE T act needs to be fixed will JB to apologize to the 100 out of 102 elected State’s Attorneys he called fearmongers and liars?


  8. - JS Mill - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    = will JB to apologize to the 100 out of 102 elected State’s Attorneys he called fearmongers and liars?=

    No,because he is correct.

    JB is probably still waiting for their apologies for all of the sky is falling nonsense over legal pot and masks.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:21 pm:

    ===apologize===

    (Sigh)

    Is every trailer bill now going forward going to begin with an apology?

    You are not a serious person to discussion of actual policy, you are reflexive only to the partisan. You are not helping to the bettering of any policy, you are the Raunerite “win the day, win tomorrow” kind of stain to process.

    ===if only the billionaire governor who signed the bill could have put two nickels into defending it before===

    Yea, but here’s the thing.

    Upon signing, the governor, et al, decided that instead of framing its passage as…

    “…this is a first step, a necessary step that will need further legislation to strengthen this Act and make it better as it gets implemented in January”

    They decided to hang their hat on this being a “promise kept” and “done”

    You pass and sign major legislation that has obvious issues because of compromises and baselines, and both are still not going to be seen for months, why allow the angle of where the perfect is the enemy of the good warped to “the bad work here is…”

    This was a Comms kind of “boo-boo”(?), it mushroomed out of control to “square one” where a mere lil admission that work needs to be done, and say it as a buttress from jump street…

    This is liking to watching a same error played out, daily.


  10. - 47th Ward - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:22 pm:

    === Here’s what will happen in Will County to the 500 prison inmates with pending cases according to Glasgow:===

    Umm, these people are in jail, not prison, because they haven’t been tried yet.


  11. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:31 pm:

    “There’s just a lack of transparency and a lack of data on how the police department allocates staff, whether we have adequate staff and what we need to do to make sure we have adequate staff in the future. … We urge the city to conduct and publish an independent workforce allocation study of the police department.”

    This assume there is anyone supervising the Chicago Police Department. The only time that happens is when the stench gets bad enough that a democratic administration asks DOJ to get involved. Outside of those moments in time, there is quite literally no ongoing oversight.
    Do people think CPD answers to Lightfoot? City Council? LOL.


  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:36 pm:

    –under current practice, the majority of those charged with detainable offenses are released within a week.–

    Glasgow was in such a hurry to get his mug in front of a camera and get some attention on himself, he forgot to think about the side effects of that attention which will cause reporters to look into actual data from his county.

    I’m patiently waiting until they get to the asset forfeiture stuff he’s doing.


  13. - Original Rambler - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:49 pm:

    What does Glasgow say on January 2 when the releases he said would happen do not happen?


  14. - skutt - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:50 pm:

    ==Since he has admitted the SAFE T act needs to be fixed will JB to apologize to the 100 out of 102 elected State’s Attorneys he called fearmongers and liars?==

    No, because they are fearmongers and liars.


  15. - Roadrager - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:53 pm:

    ==What does Glasgow say on January 2 when the releases he said would happen do not happen?==

    He’s going to be on camera in Joliet releasing them from the jail in person. Might even work up some crocodile tears about how he just has no choice in doing so.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===What does Glasgow say on===

    This is about November 8th, not January 1st “right now”

    The votes will be counted by then, it’s not going to matter to the political that’s at play in these coming days.

    Like I said to - LP -, it’s the partisan to win the day in this snapshot, those pushing what may (or may not) happen are the ones seizing this window of uncertainty to slant a partisan win.

    Once one realizes that…

    It doesn’t help anyone right now, I grant you, but few of those who object to the Safe-T Act right now are going to be less rabid to their opposition… at least until November 9th


  17. - Politix - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 12:59 pm:

    =Illinois candidate warns of ‘anarchy’ after criminal justice overhaul=

    Would someone please check on Mayor Pekau? He is…not OK.


  18. - Leslie K - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 1:09 pm:

    ===The current crime spree ===

    Sigh. Headlines and fearmongering do not establish a crime spree.


  19. - Moe Berg - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 1:11 pm:

    Every single night nearly all of the first 10-12 stories on WGN TV are about crime, sometimes with a weather breather thrown in.

    Then they roll into back to back to back to back political ads, with the GOP mostly talking about crime and Dems abortion, with some inflation/economy in the mix.


  20. - RuralMom - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 1:15 pm:

    I was just reading in our local news about a man who was arrested three times in four hours, the second of which was entering the public safety building and threatening to shoot it up. Was he really able to make bail for each arrest, considering the low income level of the neighborhood, or why would anyone agree to let him out instead of holding him and getting him help? It makes no sense to me. Will the SAFE-T act help with situations like this?


  21. - Amalia - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 1:17 pm:

    the public would have more confidence if the court was more transparent and correct about stats on those out on monitoring and crimes. see For What It’s Worth blog for a link to the letter from former Chicago Ald. Michele Smith (also a former AUSA) who called out Chief Judge Evans very specifically and urged a no vote for him. Correct and transparent stats helpful in discussion.


  22. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 1:52 pm:

    RuralMom - Did you read that in a real newspaper? The paperwork involved in processing two separate arrests makes it highly unlikely he’d be able to be out in time to get caught a third time within four hours.


  23. - notafraid - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 2:05 pm:

    Lot of stuff to absorb and consider.

    We will not know the true effects of this measure without time to consider the before and after results Hopefully an honest assessment will occur within a year or two.

    Just something to consider. Those who have had prior convictions of any crime that could have potential jail time (whether they went to jail or not) should be required to have cash bail. Those who do not meet that standard should not have such a requirement.


  24. - H-W - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 2:28 pm:

    = “Fearmongers and liars.” That’s what JB Pritzker called the opponents of his Purge Law.” =

    Purge Law = lie. Let’s just start there.


  25. - Demoralized - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 3:06 pm:

    ==fearmongers and liars==

    Maybe because they are being fearmongers and liars? You can say the law needs changes and still point out that some of the critics are indeed fearmongers and liars. Both can be true at the same time.


  26. - Anon324 - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 3:12 pm:

    @West Side–

    RuralMom appears to be referencing this:

    www.wgil.com/2022/10/28/galesburg-man-arrested-three-times-within-four-hours-on-monday-morning/

    If he was a danger, why did they keep letting him go? A lot of context seems to be missing.


  27. - H-W - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 3:12 pm:

    My current sheriff is running for reelection. In his advertisement, he indicates he “created a jail booking system that pays the sheriff’s salary.”

    I have to wonder if this is tied to his decision sue the State of Illinois so as to overturn the SAFE-T Act.

    I wonder how many of the 100 sheriffs are in a similar situation.


  28. - Demoralized - Friday, Oct 28, 22 @ 3:56 pm:

    ==We will not know the true effects of this measure==

    I’ve said that for a while now. There’s an awful lot of people who are proclaiming that certain things will happen. The facts are that nothing has happened yet and we don’t know exactly what may or may not happen. But there sure are a lot of experts out there telling us all that they know for sure.


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