Illinois SAFE-T Act: Kim Foxx touts successes one month after implementation

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office (CCSAO) is marking the one-month anniversary of the implementation of the SAFE-T Act by reflecting on the significant changes brought about by the legislation.

On Sept. 18, Illinois became the first state in the nation to abolish cash bail for pretrial release.

During the first month, the CCSAO says several key updates and impacts have been seen:

Detention Hearings and Grant Rates:

  • A total of 649 detention hearings were requested, with detention being granted in 60% of the cases.
  • Only in two cases was the detention request withdrawn.
  • Domestic battery cases emerged prominently, with 216 detention hearings requested. Given that domestic battery is often classified as a misdemeanor, its detention grant rate stood at only 39%.
  • Unlawful Use of a Weapon followed, with 105 detention hearings requested and a 64% grant rate.
  • Cases involving Murder, Vehicular Hijacking, and Attempted Murder boasted the highest rates of detention requests granted at 93%, 94%, and 89% respectively.

Impact on Jail Populations:

  • There has been a notable 12% reduction in the overall jail population, dwindling from 5,531 a year ago to the current 4,846.
  • The count of those accused of non-violent crimes has reduced by 21%, shifting from 2,029 to 1,610.

According to the CCSAO, the SAFE-T Act's purpose is to diminish the number of individuals incarcerated for non-violent crimes by ensuring money plays no part in someone's release while they await trial.

"In this new era of justice reform, our objective remains clear: to ensure a system where detention is determined by risk assessments and not by one's wallet. These initial outcomes reinforce our commitment to equity and to keeping communities safe. We remain vigilant, continually refining our responsibility to serve the people of Cook County better," State's Attorney Kim Foxx said in a statement.