Kim Foxx Agrees to Release Some Inmates Unable to Post Bonds of up to $1,000 Cash
Yesterday, Kim Foxx announced that she will start working with the Sheriff’s and Public Defender’s Offices to allow several dozen people held on bonds of $1,000 or less for nonviolent charges to be released without having to pay those bonds. This is a response to public pressure to end monetary bond and pretrial incarceration and a victory for activists!
Foxx’s plan is a first step along the way toward eliminating the use of money bond entirely and getting many, many more people out of Cook County Jail. It’s very, very small step though. This article says that it will impact “just a few dozen of the more than 7,400 inmates now in the jail,” and there are another 2,000+ people on house arrest through electronic monitoring, many of whom also have bonds they can’t pay.
This initiative is also limited to people with “nonviolent” charges. When we talk about making decisions based on types of charges, it is crucial that we remember we are talking about people who are merely accused of crimes and who are presumed innocent. Setting bond is a release decision, and everyone being incarcerated pretrial because they can’t post bond is being punished for not having enough money to get out of jail. Being accused of a “violent” crime is not the same as being found guilty of it. Several of the people CCBF has posted bond for were charged with “violent” crimes, yet have been successfully and safely out on bond we posted for many months. We must not use unproven charges as our only decision-making tool.
Only about 800 people in CCJ have bonds of $1,000 or less, and less than 6% of people are charged with misdemeanors. More than 75% of people incarcerated pretrial in Cook County have bonds of $5,000 or more. If we are serious about abolishing monetary bond and eliminating pretrial incarceration, we must center people with high bonds and who are charged with felonies. We must continue pushing for principled policy changes that will impact these people, and we cannot settle for less. This initiative is a start, but it ultimately addresses only a very small number of people who are essentially outliers. To quote one of our Advisory Board members, “Onward!”