Number of People Incarcerated at Cook County Jail on Unaffordable Bonds Remains at 2,500
General Order 18.8A states that no one should be “held in custody prior to trial solely because [they] cannot afford to post bail.” In the three months after the Order was implemented, the number of people incarcerated in Cook County Jail dropped by more than 1,400 people. This progress, however, came to an abrupt halt in January 2018. Since then, the number of people locked up in CCJ has remained steady at around 6,100 people.
Today, there are still around 2,500 people incarcerated before trial in Cook County Jail only because they can’t afford to pay a money bond, which is in direct contraction with the Order. Judges across Cook County’s criminal courtrooms, including those who were handpicked by Judge Evans to sit in bond court, continue to disregard the Order. After increasing dramatically last September, the rate at which judges at Central Bond Court release people on I-bonds (requiring no money up front) is slowly going down. Meanwhile, the percentage of people in Central Bond Court receiving unaffordable money bonds has increased.