CCBF’s Second Year
As 2017 comes to an end, we thank each and every one of you for your support. 2017 has been a busy year for CCBF and the struggle to end pretrial incarceration in Cook County. In just two short years, CCBF has posted bond for more than 110 people and has helped dramatically shift the conversation around money bond and pretrial incarceration in Cook County.
With your support, we posted over $250,000 in bonds in 2017, freeing 59 people from Cook County Jail or house arrest with electronic monitoring. We also partnered with Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers, and LaSalle Street Church to establish the Mothers’ Justice Fund, a fund dedicated to posting bond and providing support for women (cis and trans) who are primary caregivers. As part of CCBF's commitment to supporting movements for systemic change in Chicago, we posted bond for five people arrested during protests in Chicago. And as people's cases have resolved, bonds we previously posted have returned to the revolving fund. In total, over $175,000 has returned to CCBF and is now available to post bonds for more people.
We also expanded our advocacy efforts. CCBF became a leading voice in the public debate over pretrial detention in 2017. We participated in 25 educational events, spoke with more than 1,000 organizers, advocates and students about the harms of pretrial incarceration and were featured in 35 local and national media reports.
You helped us fill the courtroom at the first major hearing in the groundbreaking lawsuit challenging money bond in Illinois. As a direct result of the lawsuit, Cook County Circuit Court’s Chief Judge issued General Order 18.8A, which aims to ensure that no one is incarcerated at Cook County Jail simply because they are unable to pay a monetary bond.
When the order went into effect on September 18, 2017, CCBF volunteers, along with our partners in the Coalition to End Money Bond, monitored the implementation of the order. We continue to document whether judges in Central Bond Court are setting unpayable money bonds and whether judges in other courtrooms are conducting the required reviews for people who were not able to post bond within seven days.
In October 2017, CCBF published Punishment is not a “Service”: The Injustice of Pretrial Conditions in Cook County, a report featuring testimonies of individuals who endured severe hardships as part of pretrial conditions imposed by the courts. We provided the report to Cook County Commissioners and testified before the Cook County Board and the Justice Advisory Council on our findings.
Now, for the first time in decades, there are fewer than 6,000 people in Cook County Jail. While there is a long way to go and thousands of people are still incarcerated in Cook County Jail only because they cannot pay bond, we are encouraged by the dramatic effect of the rule so far: 1,500 fewer people in jail only because they couldn’t pay a monetary bail.
We remain committed to continue fighting until no one is locked up in Cook County Jail simply because they can’t afford to pay bond. Together, we can end money bond and pretrial incarceration in Cook County.