The Illinois Bail Reform Act of 2017 mandated that judges impose “affordable” bail to criminal suspects arrested by police. Theoretically, the law was to apply only to misdemeanor and minor felony arrests. However Cook County judges, under orders from Cook County’s Chief Judge, Tim Evans, have brazenly applied the law to all but the worst offenders.
Implementation of this new law has emptied out Cook County’s jails by tens of thousands of inmates since the summer of 2017. While “decarceration” has saved Cook County $143 per day per inmate, local residents and visitors have paid in blood.
Judge Evans released a junk science report that allegedly found no increase in violent crime from releasing felons under the “affordable” bail provisions. The mainstream media dutifully and gleefully and reported the same.
Report: Cook County Bail Reform Reduced Jail Population Without More Crime
Major bail reforms in Cook County led to a decrease in the number of people held in jail, but the reforms did not increase violent crime, according to a report released Thursday by the office of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans.
According to the report, in the 15 months following the reform, from October 2017 to December 2018, the average daily jail population dropped by 16%, from 6,940 to 5,799. Meanwhile, the percentage of felony defendants committing crimes while out on bond remained stable between the 15-month period before the reform and the 15 months after the changes.
However, a more scientific study available for peer review among fellow researchers has found something entirely different.
From a study done by Paul Cassell and Richard Fowles from the University of Utah:
Properly measured and estimated, after more generous release procedures were put in place, the number of released defendants charged with committing new crimes increased by 45%. And, more concerning, the number of pretrial releasees charged with committing new violent crimes increased by an estimated 33%.
In addition, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, the Study’s data appears to undercount the number of releasees charged with new violent crimes; and a substantial number of aggravated domestic violence prosecutions prosecutors dropped after the changes, presumably because batterers were able to more frequently obtain release and intimidate their victims into not pursuing charges.
These public safety concerns call into question whether the bail “reform” measures implemented in Cook County were cost-beneficial. And because Cook County’s procedures are state-of-the-art and track those being implemented in many parts of the country, Cook County’s experience suggests that other jurisdictions may similarly be suffering increases in crime due to bail reform.
Admittedly, many of those arrested on felony charges couldn’t post bail under the previous law. So, have those suspects suddenly seen the light and behaved themselves once they were released under the 2017 bail reform law? Hardly.
CWB Chicago has found that 16 assailants in 2021 murders were free on “affordable” bail awaiting trial on one or more previous felony arrests.
Thanks to HeyJackass.com we know Chicago police have identified suspects in only 49 of 450 murder cases (some involving more than one murder victim).
Putting some public school math to work, that means 32.7% — one-third — of all known homicide suspects through August 12th where known, were out under the 2017 Illinois bail Reform Act.
Given that Chicago Police have only managed to identify suspects in 49 of 450 murder cases to date, that would suggest that other offenders out on “affordable” bail could be responsible for upwards of 150 cases, or about 163 criminal homicides. This, of course, doesn’t count those who were released and committed other violent crimes which maimed, but did not kill other innocents.
— CWBChicago (@CWBChicago) August 16, 2021
Looking at it another way, if judges returned to imposing bail amounts commensurate with the charges against the arrestee coupled with his or her likelihood to re-offend in a way that might endanger the safety and well-being of others in the community, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Paradise By the Lake homicide numbers might be up to one third lower than the current 513 as of this writing.
In a time when some politicians love to say, “if it saves just one life” to promote new laws and regulations, what do we tell all those families whose loved ones died at the hands of people out of jail on “affordable” bail following one or more felony arrests?