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A THIRD: One-third of known murder assailants in Chicago out on ‘affordable’ bail from previous felony arrests

August 17, 2021

The Illinois Bail Reform Act of 2017 mandated that judges impose “affordable” bail to criminal suspects arrested by police. Theoretically, only misdemeanors and minor felony cases would receive “affordable” bail. However Cook County judges, under orders from Cook County’s Chief Judge Tim Evans, have brazenly applied it to all but the worst offenders.

Implementation of this new law coupled with Tim Evans’ order to release almost all subjects with little or no cash bail has emptied out Cook County’s jails since the summer of 2017. While this saved Cook County $143 per day per inmate, residents have paid the price in blood.

Admittedly, many charged with felonies couldn’t post bail under the previous law. So, have those criminal suspects behaved once they were released under the 2017 Bail Reform law? Hardly.

CWB Chicago, a website that profiles crime trends and individual crime incidents within Chicago, has found that 16 of 49 known 2021 murderers – 32.7% – through August 12th were out of jail on “affordable bail” on one or more previous felony arrests.

Image via CWB Chicago.

Given how Chicago Police have identified suspects in just 49 of 450 murder cases to date, that would suggest that other offenders out on bail were responsible for upwards of 150 cases, or about 163 criminal homicides. Of course this doesn’t count other violent crimes which maimed, but did not kill other innocents.

Of course, Cook County’s Chief Judge Tim Evans claims that releasing all these felon arrestees has not increased crime. In 2019, Evans released a junk science report that claimed as much. And NPR and other complicit mainstream media outlets dutifully reported it as the truth.

Even more incredibly, Judge Evans claimed during a Cook County budget hearing: “It’s not by magic that we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur using this new [bail] system.”

Really?

In a scientific study open to scientific peer review, two researchers from the University of Utah – by Paul G. Cassell and Richard Fowles – found that “affordable” bail has resulted in huge increases in crime.

[T]he new changes to pretrial release procedures appear to have led to a substantial increase in crimes committed by pretrial releasees in Cook County. Properly measured and estimated, after more generous release procedures were put in place, the number of released defendants charged with committing new crimes increased by 45%. And, more concerning, the number of pretrial releasees charged with committing new violent crimes increased by an estimated 33%. In addition, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, the Study’s data appears to undercount the number of releasees charged with new violent crimes; and a substantial number of aggravated domestic violence prosecutions prosecutors dropped after the changes, presumably because batterers were able to more frequently obtain release and intimidate their victims into not pursuing charges. These public safety concerns call into question whether the bail “reform” measures implemented in Cook County were cost-beneficial. And because Cook County’s procedures are state-of-the-art and track those being implemented in many parts of the country, Cook County’s experience suggests that other jurisdictions may similarly be suffering increases in crime due to bail reform.

In a time when some politicians love to say, “if it saves just one life” to promote new laws and regulations, what do we tell all those families whose loved ones died at the hands of people out of jail on “affordable” bail following one or more felony arrests?