April 28, 2020
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices (Commission) has released its final report concerning pretrial reform in the Illinois criminal justice system.
For two years, the Commission studied best practices in use around the country, consulted pretrial reform experts, listened to stakeholders throughout the state, and analyzed the myriad sources of academic and professional analysis of pretrial issues. A preliminary report was released in December 2018.
“On behalf of the Illinois Supreme Court, I would like to thank the Commission and everyone involved in the creation of this report,” Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said. “The Court will now take the report under consideration and determine the next steps to enact pretrial reform in Illinois.”
The Commission held public hearings in Springfield, Champaign/Urbana, Chicago, and Freeport between April and June 2019. The written comments and testimony submitted during those public hearings were incorporated into the final report and recommendations.
The final report is available here.
“The Commission has followed its charge from the Supreme Court to provide guidance and recommendations regarding comprehensive pretrial reform here in Illinois,” said Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr., who serves as the Commission’s liaison. “It is imperative that our statewide pretrial practices comply with the provisions of the United States and Illinois constitutions and provide for a uniform pretrial justice system. This report helps start the Illinois pretrial justice system on that path.”
The recommendations from the Commission to modify state laws, Supreme Court rules and policies, and the practices and procedures and systems used in circuit courts throughout Illinois are designed to ensure a fair, efficient, transparent, accountable and adequately-resourced system of pretrial services using legal evidence-based practices and an operational structure guided by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC)’s A Framework for Pretrial Justice: Essential Elements of a High Functioning Pretrial System and Agency. The NIC provided critical technical support and training to guide the Commission's efforts in improving Illinois bail practices.
“It has been a great pleasure to have worked with these stakeholders from around the state on this vital project and I thank the Supreme Court for the opportunity to be of service,” said DeKalb County Judge Robbin Stuckert, Chair of the Commission on Pretrial Practices. “We hope our efforts will provide for comprehensive pretrial reform in Illinois.”
The Commission on Pretrial Practices was created in 2017 and was comprised of members of all three branches of Illinois government and criminal justice stakeholders. It was charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the State’s pretrial detention system and making recommendations for amendments to state laws, Supreme Court Rules, and Supreme Court policies, as necessary, to ensure pretrial practices in all jurisdictions in Illinois are consistent, in form and substance, with the Supreme Court’s Policy Statement on Pretrial Services.
In moving Illinois from a resource-based system of justice to one that is risk-based, the goal of the Commission on Pretrial Practices is to minimize the effects of monetary conditions of release in the criminal justice system while maximizing public safety, court appearance and appropriate release.