On September 21st, CCBF posted $5,000 to free Miguel from Cook County Jail. Miguel was arrested in early August and charged with robbery and aggravated battery. After General Order 18.8A went into effect on September 18th for felony cases, Miguel was entitled to have his bond reviewed within seven days and have it reduced to an amount he could afford to pay. Despite the new order, Miguel never received a bond review. He continued to sit in jail simply because he did not have the money to post his bond.
Currently, approximately 4,000 people are locked up in CCJ—still in Miguel’s same situation. CCBF is pushing judges, public defenders, and private attorneys to follow General Order 18.8A and provide every person who wants one with a bond review hearing following the new framework that unpayable money bond cannot be used to incarcerate our friends and neighbors. Right now, more than three weeks after the order went into effect, a systematic review of everyone held in the jail on unpaid money bond has yet to occur, and there is no plan to do so: http://bit.ly/2zaDCuE.
Over the month and a half that he was incarcerated, Miguel was separated from his 3 year old daughter to whom he is devoted. Miguel’s family also lost their apartment because they could not make rent without his income. As a result, they were forced to move in with relatives. During the first three weeks he was locked inside CCJ, Miguel was not given the medication he has taken all his life for a disease he was born with. Not having his medication caused Miguel to go into shock, and he had to be hospitalized for multiple days. After CCBF posted his bond, Miguel was able to restart his full-time job and prevent his family’s car from being repossessed. He is currently saving money to rent an apartment again and get back on his feet. Of course, Miguel and his family wouldn’t be in this situation at all if Cook County judges were following General Order 18.8A and no longer caging people simply because they are too poor to afford bond. Sign up to receive CCBF’s newsletter and get updates on the fight to end money bond in Cook County at www.chicagobond.org/#contact.