Kareem Butler – Truth About Electronic Monitoring

On today’s show we attempt to bring facts and science to the discuss around the Pre-Trail Fairness Act (PTFA) and the state of electronic monitoring (EM) in the Cook County criminal justice system. We were honored to sit down with Kareem Butler, a pretrial justice fellow at the Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts, to discuss these vital issues.

The hyperbolic response to bail reform in Cook County and the subsequent passage of the PTFA by the Illinois General Assembly having nothing to do with the reality of what the efforts mean for communities throughout the state but are all about an ideology that cannot come to terms with the need for the justice system to treat every equitably. The response is also often based in deep hatred and fundamental distrust of the poor. This is why those bothered by both efforts are so upset that the poor can spend their pre-trial time out on the street just like those with the same charges but with the money to bond themselves out of jail.

Butler demonstrates a deep understanding of the issue and is able to highlight the hypocrisy in the responses to these efforts. Also, Butler is very good at bringing the data to back up his perspective. This is a fundamentally opposite position of the alt right in Chicago whose don’t need any evidence to support their beliefs. It is clear what Butler and his organization is advocating for is evidence based decision making in pre-trial assessment of the risk a potential defendant poses and for a system where there is not two different pre-trial detention policies for the rich and the poor.

Butler also provides insight in to just how in true Cook County disorganized fashion the EM systems have two masters. One being the Cook County Sheriff’s Office headed by political animal Tom Dart and the other being Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans. Neither office has a reputation being a really well run office free from political influence in their decisions. This should scare anyone that is concerned about the appropriateness of how these two EM systems are administered.

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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