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Too often lost in the reporting: Victims’ rights groups supported the SAFE-T Act

Thursday, Jul 20, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Fox News

Sheriffs in southern Illinois say they are bracing for more crime and more victims that result from the end of cash bail across the state.

“Folks who live here are extremely concerned,” Franklin County Sheriff Kyle Bacon told Fox News. “It’s an experiment on the backs of victims of crime. I have serious concerns and so do the people that live here.”

Um, well-respected victims’ rights groups supported the law, including the venerable Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence

A coalition of 426 organizations and individuals filed a document with the Illinois Supreme Court arguing that the elimination of cash bail will make communities safer. That coalition includes victim rights groups like the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. They point to studies that show when reliance on cash bail was reduced in Cook County, there was no statistical effect on crime.

They write that when people are unable to pay bail, they “often lose their jobs, housing, health care, family and social ties, and potentially custody of their children.” And when people’s lives are destabilized, that makes communities less safe.

That filing is here.

Also

Advocacy groups including the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Explotation, The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault have all shown support for the SAFE-T Act. CAASE’s website says the SAFE-T Act allows for more victim input in risk-based assessments.

* Meanwhile, let’s move on to TriStates Public Radio

McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout said that as a result, there will be no repercussions for crimes such as shoplifting, disorderly conduct, and petty theft.

He believes a lot of people will refuse to come to court if they don’t have to put up cash for bail.

“It’s difficult to get anything done the way the system is written now. I can imagine when it’s just simply handing people a piece of paper that says, ‘I need you to go to court on this date,’ and they already don’t go to court,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be difficult to hold anyone accountable for these low-level crimes.”

Petitgout said now they need to work on making the law better.

“We’re going to collaborate with the state legislature and try to fix some of the things that we’ve pointed out and they’ve pointed out that, ‘Hey, this doesn’t work,’” he said.

Full Petitgout quote…

I think some of your nuisance-type crimes where, you know, there will be no repercussions for going out and doing these, you know, shoplifting and stealing and being unruly, being disorderly, you know, petty theft. I think it’s going to create this culture where there’s just no consequences for some of those minor crimes. And I see that being an issue. I really do, because we already deal with a certain element of the community that tend to commit these low level crimes just over and over and over again. And it’s difficult to get anything done the way the system is written now. I can imagine when it’s just simply handing people a piece of paper that says, I need you to go to court on this date, and they already don’t go to court [laughs]. I think it’d be really difficult to hold anybody accountable for these low level crimes.


Judges are given discretion
in the new law to impose certain conditions “needed to assure appearance in court & safety of other persons” on repeat offenders.

       

34 Comments
  1. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:35 am:

    So the only thing keeping a lid on crime in Franklin county is the bale rules?

    Also the low level crimes, once you ignore your summons aren’t there eventually some consequences for that? I mean I would assume they would reschedule once or twice but once you run out of headway, wouldn’t one then become a flight risk? And thus be jailable?


  2. - Maybe you should leave - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:38 am:

    “Folks who live here are extremely concerned,” Franklin County Sheriff Kyle Bacon told Fox News. Of course they are. They’re watching a news-show that pours fear into their living room while local officials make unfounded claims that a tsunami of crime is coming their way. Yeah, I can only imagine why they’re concerned. [Insert eye-rolling emoji that this antiquated website doesn’t allow.]


  3. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:39 am:

    Tale of two groups. One interested in victim’s rights and justice reform. The other a mainly partisan group of politicians who prefer demagoguery over facts.


  4. - James - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:41 am:

    Illinois is the only state to go to this extreme. Just because you can find a couple “crime victims” groups that say it’s a good law doesn’t make it so.


  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    ===a couple “crime victims” groups===

    Yeah, we should listen to some rando in comments rather than people who have been actively working to help crime victims for decades.


  6. - The Truth - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:45 am:

    Weird how the conservative line went from “THE PURGE WILL HAPPEN. YOU WILL DIE.” to “Billy will steal more candy bars now.”


  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:46 am:

    ===this antiquated website doesn’t allow.===

    🙄


  8. - charles in charge - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:46 am:

    These claims should be given all the weight they deserve: none at all. Time to quit the fear-mongering and do your jobs.


  9. - Amalia - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:49 am:

    focus sharper on prosecutors and judges. state the danger, rule on the danger. need more coverage of decisions.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:50 am:

    As this fear mongering continues…

    … they may wanna rethink the complaining as likely the same folks realize their “funding” has now been diminished by this law.

    It’s so interesting that victim shaming is allowed… in the name of victims?

    It’s the feature, not the bug.


  11. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:52 am:

    “Just because you can find a couple”

    It’s amazing how supporters are questioned even when providing documented and external proof, but uneducated sheriffs making things up out of whole cloth are considered ‘trustworthy sources’.

    –A coalition of 426 organizations and individuals–

    426 is not the definition of ‘a couple’.

    But hey, as long as you can throw out evidence, and make up new definitions of words then I suppose you have a point. Not a valid one, but a point.


  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:54 am:

    ” need more coverage of decisions.”

    Yes. But from who?

    Local newspapers in each of the 102 counties in Illinois?

    The sheriffs and judges know there will be no such coverage of their actions. That’s one of the reasons they are so over the top in their statements. There is nobody to counter their nonsense.


  13. - Baloneymous - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:55 am:

    If I was a lawyer and taking the Franklin and McDonough County sheriffs’ words that crime is going to skyrocket, I might move to one of those counties and start handing out 50% off cards a la Saul Goodman.


  14. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:55 am:

    ==to go to this extreme==

    Some would say incarcerating poor people who are presumed innocent and may be acquitted is extreme.


  15. - Twirling Towards Freedom - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 11:57 am:

    If you get caught shoplifting and don’t show for your court date, I would assume a warrant would be issued. That will be hanging over your head until you eventually get pulled over for a traffic ticket or get caught shoplifting again.

    The problem with any argument in support of cash bail is you have to add “unless they have money” at the end of you are being intellectually honest. “Dangerous criminals should be in jail. . . Unless they have money.” No cash bail means whether or not you are in jail pending trial will be determined by how dangerous you are and how big a flight risk you are, not how much money you have.


  16. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:00 pm:

    “We’re not racist, it’s just that The Purge will happen.”

    (There is no Purge)

    “We’re not racist, it’s just that it unconstitutional.”

    (Supreme Court says otherwise)

    “We’re not racist, it’s just that the process is too complicated.”

    (Cook County shares training materials it developed)

    “We’re not racist, it’s just that we don’t know how you find people who don’t show up for court.”

    (Capitolfax shares Google.com)


  17. - Jocko - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:01 pm:

    ==we already deal with a certain element of the community that tend to commit these low level crimes just over and over again==

    Nick, please go on. Are you referring to any group in particular?


  18. - Heat of Summer - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:01 pm:

    Petitgout appears to be one of those “certain elements” (what’s that noise I’m hearing?) of law enforcement.


  19. - Wut - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:04 pm:

    Interesting that cook county courts have now discontinued live YouTube bond court coverage. I think that’s a foolish step backwards. This new procedure needs to be transparent. Show the people it works. Sadly, it looks like hide the ball, “We’re too concerned with mistakes or bad press to continue to show live calls.” Honestly, what is Evans thinking?


  20. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:08 pm:

    FWIW, there were I believe 200 thefts in all of Macomb in the last national crime data set.

    McDonough County should not have too tough a time I would expect even if criminal charges were pressed in all 200 cases, which is doubtful.

    I mean, unless they were repeat offenders or part of a huge criminal ring, how many shoplifters are they prosecuting in McDonough County? Shouldn’t these be pleaded to restitution, community service, don’t do it again?


  21. - JoanP - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:16 pm:

    = He believes a lot of people will refuse to come to court if they don’t have to put up cash for bail. =

    I never noticed a difference in the number of failures to appear by people on recognizance bonds compared to those on cash bonds. Neither group wants to be subject to a warrant and being locked up because they didn’t show for court.


  22. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:18 pm:

    The way I look at it, no bail being supported by the various advocacy groups may be a case of choosing the lesser evil. If it stops the downward spiral that happened when people with no or minimal resources had to post bail or sit in jail, then maybe more serious crimes are prevented at the cost, maybe, of less serious crimes. In the case of repeat offenders, it doesn’t stop the judge from imposing conditions or even revoking bail; just means the judge has to do more paperwork.

    I’m reserving judgement on the effectiveness until we have a few years of statistics that will show if it works or not.


  23. - Jerry - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:33 pm:

    So we should send someone to prison for trying to shoplift a toothbrush at Wally wold.


  24. - TNR - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:46 pm:

    == what is Evans thinking? ==

    He’s thinking the same thing he thinks whenever faced with a decision: “what do I need to do to keep my fellow Cook County judges happy so they re-elect me.”

    He’s only accountable to the judicial CYA club, no one and nothing else.


  25. - H-W - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:50 pm:

    === we already deal with a certain element of the community that tend to commit these low level crimes just over and over and over again ===

    Which element of the community?


  26. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:52 pm:

    = no repercussions for crimes such as shoplifting, disorderly conduct, and petty theft.=

    Puhleeeease. I have had to go to court in McDonough County on behalf of our school district.
    The family did not show for court (defendant) so the judge simply dropped the case. These rural sheriffs and SA’s try to talk the tough guy game but they are making the same deals everyone else is and most “petty” crime does not even make it to court.

    If you have a repeat offender, get them some rehab or jail time or both.This isn’t brain surgery.

    =Are you referring to any group in particular?= Yes, but it may not be the group you think he is referring to, maybe parsing words to some degree but their populations are not very racially diverse. Still, your point has merit.


  27. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 12:52 pm:

    - we already deal with a certain element of the community that tend to commit these low level crimes just over and over and over again. -

    I guess bail isn’t much of a deterrent, thanks for clearing that up.


  28. - Dotnonymous x - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 1:19 pm:

    Franklin County Sheriff Kyle Bacon has the best cop name…ever?


  29. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 1:44 pm:

    == that say it’s a good law doesn’t make it so.==

    Forgive me for not respecting your opinion telling us all that it’s a bad law. Quick to dismiss the claims of the victims groups while on the other hand puffing out your chest letting us all know it’s bad.


  30. - yinn - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 2:33 pm:

    How does Sheriff Petitgout not know that many municipalities — Macomb for one — run their own administrative hearing proceedings for ordinance violations and bypass the circuit court system for many of the petty, “nuisance type” offenses. These communities make money off of ticketing schoolchildren and harassing people who live in the poorest neighborhoods.


  31. - yinn - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    The most frequent type of police call in my city is for reports of domestic battery. If the end of cash bail means fewer abusers get out of jail just because they have money, that’s reason enough to support SAFE-T.


  32. - Um, No - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 3:26 pm:

    =. . . . . .best cop name ever=

    The long time Chief of Police in Catlin, IL name was Freddy Reddy. Not kidding. THAT is the all time best, may god rest his soul.


  33. - ramblerfan - Thursday, Jul 20, 23 @ 5:24 pm:

    Don’t forget the late Sheriff Mearl Justus, who served 30 years as Sheriff in St. Clair County. He had “baseball cards” when he campaigned with his “stats” on the back and “Justus for All” as the slogan.


  34. - Question - Friday, Jul 21, 23 @ 6:47 am:

    Are these the same law enforcement officers who claimed that all the state’s drug sniffing dogs would have to be put down once marijuana became legalized?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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