Pritzker signs SAFE-T Act trailer amendment with 5 reforms
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the fourth trailer amendment to the SAFE-T Act Dec. 6. Experts predict the changes will not stop a constitutional challenge from 62 state’s attorneys.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the fourth trailer-bill to the SAFE-T Act into law Dec. 6, clarifying the language on pretrial release, felonies for denying bail and creating a new grant program for public defenders.
House Bill 1095 approved by the General Assembly will make five significant changes to the SAFE-T Act set to take effect Jan. 1. The trailer amendment:
- Expands the scope of forcible felonies for which a judge can deny pretrial release if detainees are proven to pose a “real and present threat” to communities
- Empowers judges to deny pretrial release for detainees based on flight risk or intent evade prosecution
- Allows persons in custody come Jan. 1. to petition for a reversal of their pretrial terms starting with the least violent detainees
- Creates an unfunded grant program to train and support public defenders with appropriations set by the General Assembly
Pritzker said the 308-page amendment “addresses misinformation” and makes clarifications “that uphold the principle we fought to protect: to bring an end to a system where wealthy violent offenders can buy their way out of jail, while less fortunate nonviolent offenders wait in jail for trial.”
The SAFE-T Act will eliminate cash bail in Illinois starting Jan. 1 and mandate police officers wear body cameras by 2025, among other police and correctional reforms. The only other state to come close to eliminating cash bail statewide was New Jersey.
While lawmakers disagree on how much more clarification is needed, experts predict the new revisions are unlikely to resolve a lawsuit filed by 62 state’s attorneys challenging the constitutionality of the criminal justice reforms.
Oral arguments for the challenge are set for Dec. 20 in Kankakee County.