No Bail for Non-Violent Crimes
by: Joseph Brant
In the current justice system, a certain amount of money is, in a way, able to remedy many crimes. However, Allison O’Gorman and Zach Randazzo from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School are hoping to change this.
The representatives are seeking to “delete any legislation dealing with monetary bail” in an effort to make the justice system equal, regardless of class. O’Gorman stated that “right now there are two levels of justice: there’s one for higher class people and there’s one for lower class people.” The bill would eliminate the imprisonment of nonviolent offenders who are awaiting a trial and can’t afford bail. This would reduce the impact of an offender’s economic status on their case and justice.
O’Gorman was inspired to write the bill after writing a speech about cash bail for the speech team, which made her much more aware of the issue.
The bill would be implemented on the state-level for non-violent crimes. The cash bail would remain in place for violent offenders. Similar legislation is present in New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., and California. By introducing alternatives like algorithm-based risk assessments, these states have had “incredibly encouraging results.”
Throughout the legislative process, the criticism that the bill has faced has been mostly based on fear. O’Gorman stated that “People are scared of letting violent offenders and criminals out on the streets.” The House sponsor refuted this idea by stating that, under current legislation, these criminals’ justice is based solely on the money they have.
Paulina Czupryna, a legislator from Lake Park High School, is in favor of the bill, as she believes that people are “innocent until proven guilty.” Anthony Slade, another legislator from Lake Park, shared that “some sort of a parole officer” may be an effective way to “ensure that [the offender] remains updated on their case and to make sure they show up.”