About the Coalition
On April 20, 2016, Chicago Appleseed partnered with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. to host a convening entitled “Ending Money Bail Advocacy Strategies.” At that meeting, which brought together criminal justice system stakeholders, advocates, and community groups, attorneys from Hughes Socol provided an overview of the lawsuit they later filed in October along with The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and Civil Rights Corps. The Chicago Community Bond Fund spoke about the need to focus reform attention not just on monetary bail, but on pretrial incarceration itself, and helped set the stage for reform efforts to engage critically with proposed solutions such as increased use of electronic monitoring and risk assessment tools, which may offer relief from incarceration but also come at social costs that must be made transparent, and then monitored and evaluated in practice.
The theory of that convening was that the lawsuit would open up space for either legislative or administrative reforms to the use of secured money bond, and that community groups should be involved in shaping those reforms. This way, if the litigation team’s challenge to Cook County’s practice of incarcerating people who are presumed innocent simply because they cannot pay a monetary bond was successful, community groups would be ready with proposed reforms rather than asking a judge to shape a solution. Ideally, County and state elected officials would proactively seek reforms to the bail system that would satisfy the demands of the lawsuit.
Following the April 20th convening, Chicago Appleseed began hosting monthly meetings of advocates interested in reforming the use of monetary bond in Cook County, and possibly statewide. Many of these organizations were already working on issues of mass incarceration and racial justice within their own communities or program areas. Eventually, Chicago Appleseed, Hughes Socol, and CCBF were joined by representatives from the The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, The People’s Lobby, United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, A Just Harvest, Southside Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), The Next Movement, Nehemiah Trinity Rising, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), Communities United, Illinois Justice Project, and others.
Now, after more than a year of meeting together and building consensus around both the issues and solutions, the Coalition to End Money Bond has coalesced into a powerful force for progressive reform and decarceration. Read about some of our current initiatives and past successes below!
Support of and coordination with the Historic Legal Challenge to Use of Money Bail in Cook County
Drafting of the Principles for Bail Reform in Cook County
Support of HB 3421, The Equal Justice for All Act during the 2017 legislative session
Training more than 100 Community Courtwatchers in July 2017, who observed Cook County’s central bond court every day in August 2017.
The Community Courtwatching Initiative
- RSVP to the Facebook event or sign up to attend a training!
- Download the Courtwatching Observation Form (coming soon!)
- Download the Community Courtwatching Training Powerpoint (coming soon!)
Cook County Resources
- Download The Principles for Bail Reform in Cook County [PDF]
- Learn about General Order 18.8A, a local Cook County court rule that’s poised to dramatically reduce the use of money bond in Cook County
- Read Chicago Appleseed’s take on the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Agreed I-Bond Policy
- Download the Lawsuit filings against Cook County, Courtesy of MacArthur Justice Center
- Press release for Monday, September 11th Motion to Dismiss Hearing in Lawsuit to End Money Bond
- Five FAQs about Bail Reform in Illinois [Download the PDF]
- Download the one page overview of HB 3421, The Equal Justice for All Act
- Read our analysis of SB 2034, The Bail Reform Act of 2017 & why it’s only the first step for Illinois
In the Press
- In Chicago and Beyond, Bail Reformers Win Big in Fight to End Money Bail (July 25, 2017)
- Local Advocates Push For Bail Reform As Cook County Faces Class-Action Lawsuit (October 25, 2016)