Chicago criminals out on probation/parole/pretrial release continue violence in 2024

Wirepoints | Feb. 19, 2024

One thing Chicagoans can’t help but notice when scrolling through news feeds: the number of violent crimes committed by defendants while they were out either on parole, probation or awaiting trial.

That’s not surprising given the long-term decarceration trend in Cook County that’s left the county’s jail population at the lowest level in 40 years. Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans started a no bail/low cash bail policy in 2017, resulting in a growing number of pretrial defendants out on bond who are then charged with new crimes, as we reported here. The state’s new SAFE-T Act has taken that policy even further. In September 2023, Illinois became the first state in the country to eliminate cash bail altogether, while the law also reduced the types of crimes for which defendants could be detained before their trial.

The big question in 2024 is how will the SAFE-T Act impact crime, everything else equal. It’s still far too early to determine whether there are more violent defendants out on the streets awaiting trial and, unfortunately, the government is far behind on releasing the relevant data on that, according to a recent BGA report.


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