Illinois SAFE-T Act which will end cash bail explained

A new state law that takes effect next year is spurring pushback from Illinois law enforcement.

It's called the SAFE-T Act, and it’s aimed at reforming Illinois’ cash bail system.

A number of state’s attorneys and sheriffs are sounding the alarm about Illinois’ plan to end cash bail.


"Judges will have discretion in certain cases, like armed robbery is a case that is detainable. But for those other offenses you mentioned, second-degree murder, kidnapping, hate crimes, aggravated batteries, robberies – just to name a few – judges will not have discretion unless the person is a willful risk of imminent flight. There risk to the public and their risk to commit a future crime will not be a criteria," said DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin.

Some state officials say it's going to make crime in Illinois worse.

The new law that goes into effect January 1st, 2023, gets rid of cash bail entirely. It also limits who can be arrested and held in jail based on the crime they are alleged to have committed.

Many members of the law enforcement community are working to have the current law amended.

"I'm very concerned about an increase in violent crime. But again I do want to stress there is still time to fix it. And the state's attorneys are working very hard as we have been for the last year and a half to fix this law. It is very fixable, where we can still eliminate cash bail but make sure the right people are in custody and everybody else who's not a danger gets out," Berlin said.

Those in support of the law say it’s wrong to keep people in jail simply because they can’t afford bail.