Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law on Friday that is intended to ease jail overcrowding by reforming the bail process, his office announced on Saturday.
Crowded county jails will now be able to release low-level, non-violent offenders and ensure that low-income, low-risk offenders will have their bail reviewed and lowered if necessary to ease overcrowding.
SB 2034 was sponsored by Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) and Rep. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) and cosponsored by House Minority Leader James Durkin (R-Western Springs). They joined Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and advocate Dr. Willie Wilson at the Chicago Baptist Institute when the governor signed the bill.
Governor Bruce Rauner
“We are taking an important step in improving our state’s criminal justice system,” Rauner said, according to a press release. “Our system must work equally for all our residents, in every community, regardless of their income. We should be focused on putting people in jobs, not jail.”
The bill also extends the Illinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute to 2022. It adds employees of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, such as social workers, case workers and investigators, and other state agencies to the list of public officials covered under the statute.
“It is with tremendous excitement and thankfulness to Governor Bruce Rauner and our Illinois legislators for passing my SB 2034,” Wilson said, according to the release. “Their courage, support and dedication to non-violent prison reform with will help put an end to this moral issue and set the example throughout the country and United States of America. This movement is well past due, and I'm proud to say that the State of Illinois is taking this stand.”