Bond Court Reforms May Lead to More Punitive Pretrial Conditions: Report
Date:  10-29-2017

Bail amounts may be lower but pretrial restrictions are a hardship for people who are legally innocent
From The Chicago Reporter:

Bond reform activists scored a major victory this summer when Chief Circuit Court Judge Timothy Evans announced an order aimed at curbing monetary bonds that disproportionately hurt low-income defendants. Judges are now required to set affordable bond for defendants who are not a risk to public safety. They must also impose the “least restrictive conditions” needed to ensure a defendant appears in court, and to maintain public safety.

But those reforms could have unintended consequences, a major reform group says, by increasing the use of restrictive pretrial conditions that they say can be as onerous as jail. The reforms went into effect in Central Bond Court last month. Pretrial conditions such as electronic monitoring and curfews, “restrict the liberty of innocent people and even mimic the same harms as pretrial incarceration, causing loss of jobs, housing, access to medical care, and putting severe strain on social support networks and family members,” the Chicago Community Bond Fund asserts in a new report released Tuesday. The bond fund posts bail for people who can’t afford it and advocates abolishing monetary bond altogether, an idea that is gaining traction nationally.

The report relies primarily on anecdotes from people served by the bond fund, to make the case that restrictive and often arbitrary pretrial conditions can disrupt employment, separate people from their families, and set them up for violations that land them back in jail. Continue reading >>>