On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at 7:00pm, Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road in McHenry, is hosting a public forum examining the history of the campaign to pass the Illinois Pre-Trial Fairness Act and how it actually is being implemented in the criminal justice system despite strong opposition. Emma Gonzalez, Outreach Coordinator of the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice (INPJ), will lead the discussion. Ms. Gonzalez will be joined by Ben Ruddell from ACLU of Illinois.
Each year, Illinois incarcerates nearly a quarter million people in 92 county jails. Most of these people were jailed not because they’ve been convicted of a crime but because they couldn’t afford to pay a money bond.
In 2021, the Illinois legislature passed the SAFE-T Act, a criminal justice reform omnibus bill meant to address systemic racism in the criminal legal system. At the center of this reform package was the Pretrial Fairness Act, legislation ending money bond and designed to reduce pretrial jailing. In September 2023, Illinois became the first state to eliminate the use of money bond. Presenters from the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice will explain how and why communities across the state joined together to pass this legislation and what pretrial hearings look like under the new system.
The program is presented by the Tree of Life Social Justice Team and is open to the public and free of charge.