Illinois Gov. Pritzker visits East St. Louis to tout criminal justice reform, end of cash bail

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks on criminal justice reform at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Community Center in East St. Louis on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Photo by Erin Heffernan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

EAST ST. LOUIS — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker traveled to East St. Louis on Thursday to tout a sweeping criminal justice reform bill signed into law last week that will make the state the first to eliminate cash bail.

The massive bill written by the Legislature’s Black Caucus also increases accountability measures for police, including requiring body cameras for all officers by 2025, updates police use-of-force policies and creates a system for tracking officer misconduct and decertifying officers. 

The centerpiece of the law will eliminate cash bail by 2023 and will “end the practice of detaining people pre-trial just because they’re poor,” Pritzker said.

The bill will also offer suspects three phone calls after an arrest rather than one and end the practice of no-knock warrants statewide. 

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Several sponsors of the bill joined Pritzker at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Community Center on Thursday to portray the law as progress stemming from widespread protests last summer following the death of George Floyd. Floyd died as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. 

The Democratic governor also responded to the law’s critics, which include St. Clair County State’s Attorney James Gomric, Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Haine, every police chief in Madison County and the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition. 


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March 4, 2021 at 05:01PM

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