A US state is making history by becoming the first to pass a controversial law, dubbed by some as the ‘Purge’ law.
The ‘Safe-T Act’, standing for ‘Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today’, will come into play in the midwestern state of Illinois from 1 January 2023.
The new law is aimed at reforming Illinois’ cash bail system by removing cash bail for almost all crimes in the state.
Illinois’ new law will also limit who can be arrested and held in custody depending on the crime they are supposed to have committed.
The new passed law will waive cash bail for 12 non-detainable offences, with a lot of them being very serious offences.
- Second-degree murder
- Aggravated battery
- Drug-induced homicide
- Aggravated fleeing and eluding
- Aggravated driving under the influence
- Drug offences
- Threatening a public official
The Safe-T Act would also allow suspects of these crimes to become eligible for bail.
Courts will only be able to provide suspects bail though if prosecutors don’t present ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that shows that individual person is a threat to a specific person and/or the general public.
Many members of the law enforcement community have raised concerns over the pass of the Safe-T act and believe it will worsen crimes in Illinois.
DuPage is a county in the state and its attorney, Robert Berlin, shares that view.
“I’m very concerned about an increase in violent crime. But again I do want to stress there is still time to fix it,” he said, as reported by Fox 32.
“And the state’s attorneys are working very hard as we have been for the last year and a half to fix this law.
“It is very fixable, where we can still eliminate cash bail but make sure the right people are in custody and everybody else who’s not a danger gets out.”
The law has been called for by some for many years ahead of Illinois becoming the first state to pass it.
That is nearly 500,000 people wrongly jailed, so the removal of cash bail is hoped to lower this number.