Bail Reform – An Empirical Analysis of Impact

Bail ReformBail reform is a very hot topic in Cook County despite the fact that there have been very few facts driving the discussion.

Bail was created to assure that people show up for court proceedings after being charged with a crime. The thought was that forcing people to put up a some of cash would make sure they show up for court. If they did show up for their court hearings despite the outcome of the proceedings they would receive the money they put up back.

It is pretty easy to discern that is system was discriminatory against the poor because even low amounts of bail could very easily be impossible for the poor to pay This would result in the poor being forced to serve time in jail when the rich did not even though they were charged with the same offense, had the same criminal history, and were of equal risk of re-offending. This is the very reason advocates for bail reform sought to change this system.

Despite the lies of critics bail was not set up to make sure people were incarcerated pre-trial. It was created to assure a defendant’s attendance at his/her court hearings. The reality is that most defendants show up for court at a very high percentage regardless of whether or not they put up cash bail. This fact flies in the fact of accusations of critics but facts don’t seem to be something that critics respect.

Today we sit down with two professors form Loyola University Chicago’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology:

  • Dr. Dave Olsen – Co-director of the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice
  • Dr. Don Stemen – Associate Professor and Chairperson

We are discussing their first empirical analysis of the impact of bail reform on crime and violence in Chicago. Their report is titled “Dollars and Sense in Cook County – Examining the Impact of General Order 18.8A on Felony Bond Court Decisions, Pretrial Release, and Crime”

This conversation comes from our Chicago Justice Show that is streamed on our Facebook Page, Twitter Page, YouTube Channel, and our Twitch Channel. Here is the video of this conversation from our YouTube Channel.

You can find more information about our show including how to become a sponsor by clicking the image below.

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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