Southern Illinois locals told Fox News they’re afraid that the approaching end of cash bail will increase crime and endanger residents, with one saying the state is already “lawless” and will never be safe again.
“Illinois is already the lawless, wasteland state,” Warren told Fox News. “One hundred percent will that make this situation worse. Illinois’ streets are never gonna be safe for its people again.”
“People can break into people’s houses around here,” he continued. “Not only are they able to do that, now when they are finally in the court system for it, they’ll disappear.”
But Carly was on the fence about the provision to end cash bail.
“I’m kinda torn on it,” she said. “For a lot of the crimes, it’s probably a good thing … but I do think it’s a bad idea for those major crimes.”
On July 18, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that abolishing cash bail — a provision in the 2021 criminal justice reform bill, the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act — was constitutional. When the ruling takes effect on Sept. 18, it will make Illinois the first state to fully eliminate cash bail.
“It’s stupid,” Angel said. “We have enough criminals as it is in Illinois.”
She said she already doesn’t “feel like the Metropolis area is a safe place for my children.”
Under the new law, defendants can’t be required to post bail to be released from jail as they await trial unless a judge determines them a threat to the public or a flight risk.
“I think it’s against the law, against the Constitution,” one resident said. “It concerns everybody that pays taxes, everybody that wants a safe place to live and work.”
The SAFE-T Act’s remaining provisions overhauling Illinois’ criminal justice system went into effect on Jan. 1, limiting when defendants can be deemed flight risks and allowing defendants under electronic monitoring to leave home for 48 hours before they can be charged with escape. The elimination of cash bail had been put on hold as a challenge over its constitutionality made its way through the courts.
“Safety is the exact opposite of what that bill’s gonna provide for the people in the state of Illinois,” Warren said. “It will provide safety for our criminals.”
The lifelong Illinoian told Fox News he’s trying to flee the crime-ridden state.
“It’s falling apart, and it’s not gonna get any better,” he said. “The entire state is gonna end up looking like Chicago before too long, where every other weekend there’s a mass shooting.”
Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau previously called the Illinois SAFE-T Act the “most dangerous” law he’s ever seen. Two Southern Illinois sheriffs had also told Fox News they’re bracing for a crime surge once cash bail ends.
“I feel like it will be dangerous for people,” Ramona said. “It’s not a good situation.”
To hear more from Southern Illinois residents, click here.