Governor J.B. Pritzker to consider removing cash bail, mandatory minimum sentencing

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Governor J.B. Pritzker is making criminal justice reform one of his top priorities in 2020.

In January, he said ending cash bail and mandatory minimum sentences will be on his agenda.

Data from the Department of Corrections shows thousands of people are being held in local jails across Illinois and many of them are not able to post bail.

Governor Pritzker hopes to rectify this issue among others.

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell agrees that mandatory minimum sentences should be removed, but said ending cash bail is dangerous. Sheriff Asbell adds that Governor Pritzker needs to pump the brakes.

80% of our population has some sort of behavioral health issue so if they don’t get this time out it’s likely they’re going to reoffend and take that a little deeper so that’s where you’ll see an increase in crime as well.

Sheriff Brian Asbell, Peoria County Sheriff

He also said holding offenders could give them a better chance in the long-term.

Everything else that’s going on in our community with behavioral health, addictions and mental illness this is sometimes the only option and we’ve changed our focus over the years where we were dedicated to when they are hitting rock bottom, give them the tools they need to become productive members in our society, we [would] lose that.

Sheriff Brian Asbell, Peoria County Sheriff

Sheriff Asbell said mandatory minimum sentencing is a predetermined charge set by a statute. It forces a judge to start a sentence with a specific amount of years. He considers it a dangerous practice.

You don’t ever want to put mandatories on a judges decision because their might be other factors that need to be…looked into when they do the sentence.

Sheriff Brian Asbell, Peoria County Sheriff

This concept is being widely discussed by politicians, law enforcement and reform advocates. It has not been solidified or signed into law.

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