A Little Bit of Time in Jail

An interesting piece of research documenting in their own words how some practitioners in Illinois’ justice system use jail. While the research on the uses of jail throughout Illinois vary there seems to be a thread that the use is regularly extrajudicial and goes well beyond the legal purposes of jail and bail.

The goal of the report was to seek out how practitioners use jail and why they seem to be against the Pretrial Fairness Act (PFTA). While the report does shed light on how sheriffs and prosecutors, mostly rural, use jail they don’t really ask any followup questions that I believe would have shed immeasurable more light on the injustices in their practices.

The article quotes officials talking about how they jail people to address countless social problems that are way out of the purview of their offices and the justice system as a whole. This ranges from using jail to address homelessness in the short term and a person in crisis, however the type of crisis that is being addressed is not defined.

Now they practitioners also admitted they use jail as a way to pressure defendants to work out a plea bargain. The authors detail how outside of Cook County the percentage of felony cases that result in a plea bargain is 97% while in Cook County that rate is nearly 87%. These are disturbing figures especially when you consider just how broken and incompetent the justice system in large cities with official oversight is not to mention how bad rural justice systems must be with no meaningful accountability mechanisms built in to their systems.

It is pretty clear that practitioners from around Illinois are using the mechanisms of the justice system to inflict massive violations of constitutional and human rights. Their arguement against the PTFA is actually just an argument in favor of letting them continue their illicit practices that by the benefits them politically also.

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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