Illinois lawmaker to join Bolingbrook event on abolition of cash bail

romeoville, memorial day

A state lawmaker will join a public event in Bolingbrook that will educate residents about the new pretrial system that ended cash bail for criminal defendants last year in Illinois.

The Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice coalition will hold the event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fountaindale Public Library District, 300 W. Briarcliff Road, Bolingbrook.

State Rep. Dagmara Avelar, D-Romeoville, will join the event as a special guest.

In a statement, Avelar said she believed it’s “incredibly important that community members know the facts of what the Pretrial Fairness Act does.” The Pretrial Fairness Act is part of the criminal justice reform law known as the SAFE-T Act, which ended cash bail for criminal defendants on Sept. 18.

“There was a lot of misinformation about this law, so we want to make sure people understand how the law works and how it’s being implemented,” Avelar said.

Ben Ruddell, director of criminal justice policy for ACLU of Illinois, (left) and Katrina Baugh, west suburban organizer for The People’s Lobby, deliver a presentation about the elimination of cash bail on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet.

The Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice held the same event Feb. 3 at Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet. The coalition is hosting these events about the Pretrial Fairness Act to counter misinformation about the law, especially as the election year ramps up.

“We want to make sure community members know how disastrous the money bond system was for community safety and people’s rights,” said Katrina Baugh, an organizer with The People’s Lobby, in a statement.

Cashless bail faced opposition from numerous prosecutors across Illinois, including Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. Those prosecutors filed a lawsuit against Gov. JB Pritzker and other state officials to stop the abolishment of cash bail on Jan. 1, 2023.

While the prosecutors won a court victory in Kankakee County that paused cashless bail at the start of last year, the Illinois Supreme Court ultimately reversed that decision on July 18, 2023.