Vera Institute of Justice on the End of Cash Bail in Illinois

Illinois – Today, the Pretrial Fairness Act went into effect in Illinois, making it the first state to eliminate cash bail as a condition of pretrial release. Insha Rahman, vice president of advocacy and partnerships at the Vera Institute of Justice, issued the following statement:

“With the Pretrial Fairness Act, Illinois is making history today as the first state to fully eliminate money bail. It will join the ranks of New Jersey, Washington, DC, New York, and dozens of other jurisdictions that have taken steps in recent years to make fairness and safety, not money, the determining factor of who is released from jail pending trial. This victory is the result of years of organizing and advocacy by many, especially the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice, as well as courageous elected officials and government leaders who chose to follow the evidence, not rhetoric, about policies that deliver both safety and justice. The evidence is clear that money bail is a relic that perpetuates inequity by privileging wealth and disproportionately impacts communities of color. Data from New Jersey, which enacted bail reform over six years ago, shows that bail reform led to a significant drop in the jail population without compromising safety. Even in New York, where bail reform has been much maligned, a recent study found that the reform has not contributed to a rise in crime. As the new law goes into effect, we call upon Illinois’s elected and government leaders to work together on implementation to make the reform successful and to focus on evidence-based solutions, not scare tactics, to deliver the safety and justice all Illinoisians deserve.”


About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit