Cook County Jail has 1,600 less inmates this year than last. Cook County Board President Tony Prekwinkle, Chief Judge Timothy Evans, Illinois’s States Attorney Kimberly Foxx, and Sheriff Tom Dart are celebrating the miraculous reduction of the jail population. You would celebrate too if you were a political leader in Cook County.
Roughly a year ago, the previously mentioned politicians pushed for a revamped bonding system in Cook County. Their reasoning? Too many criminals were being locked up awaiting trial with bonds that they could not afford.
In September of 2017, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evens revamped the bonding system by introducing new procedures to evaluate defendant’s criminal history and allow affordable bonds. Existing bonding judges who relied on old methods of determining bonds were cast aside. Evans introduced new bonding judges that were assigned to a ‘Pre-Trial Division’. These judges fundamentally changed the way bonding was set and now bonding ‘respects the rights of the accused’. No mention of victims’ rights.
The results were almost immediate. From September 2017 to December 2018, the Cook County Jail population was reduced from 7,433 to 5,799 inmates either awaiting trial or serving sentences. This is celebrated as a success by Prekwinkle, Evans, Foxx, and Sharlyn Grace, executive director of the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Mrs. Grace states that these numbers are encouraging, but there is still much work to be done. As a caveat, Cara Smith, policy director for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart praises steps in the right direction, but remains concerned about the number of defendants charged in weapons cases, as well as violent crimes being let to bail on signature bonds and the ankle-monitoring bonding procedure.
The report states the portion of those criminally charged and awaiting trial that have posted NO bond money (I-Bonds) has doubled in this time. Nearly 90 percent of those free on the new ‘social justice’ style bonding system have not committed any additional crimes while awaiting trial.
The elephant in the room is the other 10 percent. This assumes that 10 percent of those arrested for criminal activity in Cook County that are allowed out after posting zero money, are committing additional crimes while awaiting trial. Using 10 percent is visually appealing and an acceptable recidivism rate until you focus on the large geographical area of Cook County. For every ten thousand arrested and bonded in Cook County, which includes Chicago, one thousand are committing new crimes while awaiting trial. For every one hundred thousand people arrested and bonded in Cook County, ten thousand are committing new crimes. That’s a disastrous number.
This report doesn’t examine those individuals arrested for gun possession that are allowed no bond status even after having a repeat history weapons violation. Nor does the report offer any significant rationale for individuals charged with attacking police officers and having reduced charges along with reduced bonds.
Statistics for 2019: 146 people killed, 593 shot and wounded, 739 total shot, 157 total homicides in Chicago to the date of this writing. Homicides are lower in 2019 than in 4 previous years and higher than in 6 previous years. Trending up.
This is the revolving door, newly branded ‘social justice’ by politicians vying for a vote. This is somehow successful?
People are confusing social justice with immunity to laws.
To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect each other. And as always, stay safe.