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Illinois May Eliminate Cash Bail

opponents of eliminating cash bail
Credit WVIK News
Whiteside County Sheriff John Booker

Law enforcment officials across Illinois are organizing to fight a proposal to eliminate cash bail for criminal suspects. In January, Governor J.B. Pritzker made that proposal as part of his criminal justice reform plan.

One opponent is Whiteside County Sheriff John Booker. He says of the 90 people housed in his jail now, about 80 would be freed if the governor's proposal is approved.

"A lot of people we have in jail are for posession of methamphetamine, or crimes related to methamphetamine. And allowing these people to get out I think is a huge mistake because the methamphetamine problem is so bad in our county and as well  in other areas, you let these people out, and they're just going to go back to using meth."

He estimates nearly three-quarters of the jail inmates in Whiteside County are being held for crimes related to methamphetamine. And letting them out could cause a lot of problems.

As a member of the Illinois Sheriffs' Association, Booker plans to lobby members of the General Assembly, and make sure people in law enforcement participate in the debate over dropping cash bail.

Three years ago, cash bond was dropped for non-violent offenders.

Other opponents of the governor's plan include the chiefs of police in Illinois, and fraternal order of police. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.