13 June, 2017
Dart, who has backed legislation that would do away with cash bond entirely, found wide disparities in the bond amounts given to defendants for similar crimes, even in cases where bond rulings had been made by the same judge.
Under the new policy, judges will still make the final decision about a defendant's bail.
According to Foxx's office, prosecutors will consider recommending recognizance bonds for those who don't have any prior violent criminal history and are charged with misdemeanors or what she referred to as "low-level" felonies that could result in probation sentences, if someone is convicted.
The policy change is another sign of momentum for bail reform.
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx is instructing prosecutors to urge judges to let nonviolent defendants go free pending trial. "So, the low level things, the low level narcotics, shoplifting and things like that nature, they shouldn't be spending any more time in jail than people that shoot people", Johnson said. That can exacerbate jail crowding on the taxpayer's dime - a year's stay in jail for an inmate is expected to cost about $60,000.
The announcement comes after Gov. Bruce Rauner this weekend signed into law legislation, backed by Foxx, meant to steer judges to set less-restrictive forms of bond and allow for quick review of bond decisions. The Act also says that, if a detainee's bond is set at a higher price than the person can pay, the County must hold a hearing on the bail amount within seven days, thus giving the detainee the opportunity to contest it.
In addition, earlier this year, Foxx's office announced that prosecutors would no longer oppose the release of some detainees held in jail on nonviolent offenses simply because they can not afford to pay cash bonds of up to $1,000 at a time.