News Release

Illinois Becomes First State to End Money Bail


On Tuesday, Illinois implements the Pretrial Fairness Act and becomes the first state in the country to completely end the use of money bail.

The Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice has been a major force in backing the Act. They released a statement: “The Pretrial Fairness Act provides Illinois communities with the opportunity to begin healing from the decades of damage caused by wealth-based incarceration. Every year, the money bond system extracted millions of dollars from our state’s most marginalized communities. For years, community members were forced to pool resources together to purchase their loved ones’ freedom while they awaited trial. Despite these efforts, tens of thousands of people lost their jobs, housing, and even custody of their children simply because they couldn’t afford to pay for their freedom. Tomorrow, Illinois begins the process of reducing pretrial jailing by taking the price tag off of one of our most fundamental rights: the presumption of innocence.

“As Illinois reduces the number of people incarcerated in county jails, it is essential that we work together to ensure that any economic benefits from these changes are passed on to the communities most harmed by pretrial jailing. Across Illinois, Black people have been disproportionately jailed by unaffordable money bonds. Communities most impacted by crime have also been those most impacted by wealth-based jailing; this has created a cycle of trauma that we have the opportunity to stop. As a state, we must ensure that the money once used to jail those who couldn’t buy their freedom is funneled into essential services like healthcare, community-based substance use and mental health treatment, affordable housing, and quality education.” See full statement

Matthew McLoughlin,,
    McLoughlin is with the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice and can coordinate interviews with members.