General Order 18.8A Notices at 26th Street
These notices are now up outside trial courtrooms at 26th and California, the main criminal courthouse in Cook County. They state that people who are in jail without bail or because they cannot afford to pay a monetary bond may be entitled to an affordable money bail or release under Illinois law.
Despite these policies on paper and even this important attempt to notify loved ones of people in jail about their rights, many judges inside these courtrooms continue to disregard General Order 18.8A and also the constitutionally protected right to freedom before conviction. These judges threaten to raise money bonds if defense attorneys ask for a bail review, deny release entirely without making the necessary findings and based on general racialized fears, and refuse to lower unaffordable money bonds when asked.
If Cook County were to fully implement General Order 18.8A, we could become a national leader in the movement to end mass incarceration. By ending money bail in Cook County, we have the opportunity to kick the foundation out on the prison industrial complex. People released while awaiting trial are less likely to be convicted, less likely to be sentenced to prison, and even less likely to be arrested in the future. Money bail and pretrial incarceration punish people for being poor and Black and Brown, and then they send those same people deeper into the criminal legal system. Let’s attack the prison industrial complex at one of its weakest points and #EndMoneyBail!