Kane County law enforcement and court officials said they are ready for when the SAFE-T Act – which will end the use of cash bail – goes into effect on Jan. 1.
The Kane County Judicial Partners (led by Chief Judge Clint Hull, State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser, Public Defender Rachele Conant, Circuit Clerk Teresa Barreiro and Sheriff Ron Hain) have been working together on a daily basis to be ready for Jan. 1.
“I am extremely proud of the cooperation that has taken place,” Hull said in a news release. “The Kane County Circuit Clerk, Judiciary, Public Defender’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and State’s Attorney’s Office along with other county offices have worked together to understand the law, identify areas of concern, and to develop policies and procedures that will allow for us to best implement the new law.”
“I am pleased with the criminal law clarifications in the latest trailer bill and the view that the new law is prospective, meaning that jail doors will not just ‘swing open’ on Jan. 1,” he said. “Your Sheriff’s Office is already positioned with body cameras, enhanced training and policies to meet all of the SAFE-T Act requirements.”
In many cases, the changes were more substantial than “clarifications,” as the measure, contained in House Bill 1095, expanded the list of offenses in which a judge can deny pretrial release. The change made it so all forcible felonies can lead to pretrial detention regardless of whether the defendant would be eligible for probation if a judge deems them a danger to the community.
It also specified that the changes take effect for those charged after Dec. 31, 2022, but those on the old bail system can petition the court to be placed into the new cash-free system on staggered timelines depending on the severity of their charges.
Mosser said her office has been working to amend the act to address several concerns that prosecutors and law enforcement had with the language.
“Over the last two years, we worked diligently to amend the act so that we brought safe reform,” she said. “While I think that there are changes that still need to happen, we have worked together to eliminate the antiquated use of cash bail. As a pilot program in Kane County, we have worked together over the last several months to implement this act in the best way for the citizens of Kane County.”
Public Defender Rachele Conant said she has been working “to ensure that all of those who may enter our courthouse have their rights protected.”
“While those in the work group may have had different interpretations of the legislation, we worked together to guarantee that Kane County is ready for Jan. 1 and I am confident that we are,” she said.
Circuit Clerk Theresa Barreiro noted that despite all of the work that has been done, “we will run into issues and obstacles that we did not anticipate.”
“But please know, we will continue to work together to respond to these obstacles and find solutions in the best interest of entire community,” she said.
Gov. JB Pritzker signed changes to the act’s cash bail system into law on Thursday.