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Does Cash Bond Curb Crime?

Not according to a study by a pair of university criminologists, who tracked the effects of Cook County’s 2018 reform of the practice requiring those charged with a crime to pay in full the amount requested by the bench at arraignment for their pre-trial release. They found that while failures to appear rose in the six months following the implementation of General Order 18.8A, there was no statistical difference in the level of offenses committed by those released on their own recognizance. Chief Circuit Judge Timothy C. Evans ordered judges in the county to avoid cash bail for criminal defendants, a change that saw the number of defendants released on so-called I Bonds to rise to more than half of arraignments conducted during the first six months of the new regime.

Professors at the Loyola University of Chicago’s Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice compared those results with findings in the six months before the change took effect that requires judges to make on-the-record findings about affordability when demanding a D-Bond cash payment for release. All told, the level of I-Bond issuance rose from around a quarter of cases. However, the results detailed in the 34-page report showed a slight decrease, to 17.1 percent, in the number of those re-offending. Instead, the greatest impact of the change was in lowering the average demand by $5,500 in cases where judges deemed it necessary to impose a D-Bond. The university’s findings jibe with those released last year by Evans’ office, a report which drew criticism from the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board over methodology. 

The Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Chicagoland Law Firm are zealous advocates for clients in Cook and DuPage counties. We represent clients in person and via Zoom and other tele-conferencing platforms in courts around the state. If you have been charged with a crime, contact us today to discuss the circumstances of your case with an experienced Criminal Defense lawyer. We can design a defense strategy that aims at achieving the best outcome possible in your case.