Changes Likely to SAFE-T Act as State’s Attorneys Raise Concerns

Changes are coming to the SAFE-T Act, the new law that, among many other things, does away with cash bail starting in the new year.

It’s become a political flashpoint in the race for governor and took center stage at the last debate.

But will changes solve the concerns of state’s attorneys who worry about the law’s impact on crime?

State Sen. Scott Bennett’s changes clarify the language around offenses, gives more discretion to judges with defendants deemed flight risks and proposes that those held before Jan. 1 will not automatically be released when the law goes into effect.

Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser says that the changes address the issues with the original law, which is based on New Jersey’s law that also eliminated cash bail. 

“It gives us the ability to argue that certain cases based on their fact pattern, and not just based on the charge, is something that should be detained because of dangerousness or a flight risk,” says Mosser.

Sharone Mitchell is a public defender with Cook County. He points out that the new language could make matters worse. 

“We believe that in its current form the bill would explode jail populations and would really exacerbate racial disparities,” Mitchell says. 

Mitchtell expects to see changes to the law and is glad that the conversations are being had.

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October 20, 2022 at 10:12PM

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