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The People Have Spoken: NewsOne Poll out of Cook County Says No Taxpayer Dollars for Bail

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

chicago bail pollThis past week in the Chicago media a story was published by NewsOne on the jail overcrowding problems plaguing Cook County.  While one might not blink at this story because it seems like there is a new story on jail overcrowding in the media every other day, this one should catch your eye.  Over the past few years the mantra of the public sector pretrial release supporters has been that jails are overcrowded because people can’t afford to pay a greedy bail bondsman.  In fact, this statement has been posted in every piece of their collateral as well as even on their websites.  But if that is truly the case, then how do you explain the challenges facing Cook County…especially since Cook County, as well as the rest of the state of Illinois, do not have commercial bail.  So if there are no bail bond agents, then how are the jails crowded.  That is a very good question, and one that needs to be answered, and maybe now since there is no easy bail bond industry target to point the finger at in Cook County, the true cause and effective solution can be determined.

That being said, one thing is for sure, that solution should not involve the use of any taxpayer dollars.  And that isn’t just us saying that, those are the people’s words.  As part of its story, NewsOne included a poll asking readers to answer one simple question:  “Should Taxpayer Dollars Be Used to Bail Out Inmates?”  The three possible answers were as follows:

  • Sounds like a smart, cost-effective plan
  • If they shouldn’t be in jail anyway, why make them post bail to get out?
  • Absolutely not

As of this morning, the results of the survey reveal that an overwhelming majority of people at 53% said “Absolutely not” and that they do not want taxpayer dollars to be used for letting people out of jail.  While 28% said “If they shouldn’t be in jail anyway, why make them post bail to get out?” and only 19% said that it “Sounds like a smart, cost-effective plan.”  Coming from a state that doesn’t support the private sector commercial bail bond industry, that is not only shocking but very telling of the times.  People are getting fed up with their tax dollars being used to let people out of jail for free.  The result is a criminal justice system that has little respect from those they look to it for protection and no accountability for those who choose to ignore it.  Maybe it is time that Illinois invite the commercial bail bond industry to its criminal justice discussions and get a perspective from this long standing and extremely effective industry.

Ultimately, if Cook County wants to solve its jail overcrowding issue and not resort to just letting people out the door, the time is ripe for a more open and honest discussion about the best solution for the citizens of Cook County and the state of Illinois.

Posted by: Eric Granof

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