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Illinois State Rep. Kam Buckner On Banning Cash Bail

A Cook County jail detainee checks in before voting in the general election after a polling place in the facility was opened for early voting in Chicago, Illinois.
A Cook County jail detainee checks in before voting in the general election after a polling place in the facility was opened for early voting in Chicago, Illinois.

Illinois has become the first state to end cash bail.  Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill this week that will end the practice, among other measures that Pritzker says will improve police accountability. Opponents of cash bail say it targets poor Americans and keeps them in jail for long periods of time before a trial. Critics also often point out cash bail’s disproportionate effect on Black and Latinx defendants.

Kam Buckner is a state representative in Illinois and the chair of the Illinois House Legislative Black Caucus, a group that has pushed for this issue to be addressed.

What did it take to end cash bail in the state? And how will the criminal justice system look different going forward?

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