Governor Pritzker Clarifies the SAFE-T Act
Written by Ben Howell on December 8, 2022
Photo provided by Illinois State University
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The office of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker stated in a press release on December 6th that the governor has signed HB1095, a series of amendments and clarifications to the SAFE-T Act.
The Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act was signed in 2021 and was a center of controversy in the 2022 Midterm Elections. A center point of each campaign for the governor and opponent Darren Bailey was the act which focused on extensive reform of the Illinois criminal justice system. Signed on January 22, the act addressed pre-arrest diversion, policing, pre-trial, sentencing, and corrections.
On Tuesday Governor Pritzker’s bill HB1095 addresses misinformation in the act. The bill addresses clarifying the detention net, and it expands the processes for transitioning to cashless bail on January 1, 2023. It also specifies the definitions of willful fight and dangerousness.
The clarifications address one of the most controversial parts of the bill under the SAFE-T Act, cash bail is completely eliminated in the state of Illinois. According to Governor Pritzker’s office, “…creates a more equitable system where pre-trial detention is based on community risk rather than financial means.” Many other lawmakers spoke out in support of the act and HB1095, including state representatives from Chicago, Joliet, Champaign, and Peoria.
Representative Justin Slaughter, a Democrat from Illinois’ 27th district in the 9th, 19th, 21st, and 34th wards of Chicago said, “when we passed the original SAFE-T Act, we did so with the understanding that more work would need to be done to implement these historic reforms. This legislation keeps that promise.”
Governor Pritzker himself said, “I’m pleased that the General Assembly has passed clarifications that uphold the principle we fought to protect: to bring an end to a system where wealthy violent offenders can buy their way out of jail, while less fortunate nonviolent offenders wait in jail for trial.” He continued his statements with, “Advocates and lawmakers came together and put in hours of work to strengthen and clarify this law, uphold our commitment to equity, and keep people safe.”
Some provisions of the act took effect on July 1st, 2021, but the remainder, including the elimination of cash bail, take effect on January 1st, 2023.