Support Bond Reform in Cook County!

Cook County Criminal Justice Stakeholders

For decades, hundreds of thousands of legally innocent people have been incarcerated at Cook County Jail simply because judges set monetary bonds that they could not pay. In September 2017, following years of organizing by community members and a lawsuit challenging this unconstitutional practice, Chief Judge Timothy Evans issued General Order 18.8A. The order states that no one should be incarcerated at Cook County Jail solely because they cannot afford to pay their bond. The issuance of General Order 18.8A marked an important first step towards restoring the constitutional rights of people facing criminal charges in Cook County and making our pretrial system fairer and more equitable. Most importantly, the Order reduced the number of people incarcerated in Cook County Jail by around 1,400—from an average of 7,500 in 2017 to around 6,100 today.

Despite the success of bond reform in Cook County, there are calls to backtrack on this important progress and further exacerbate the wealth-based pretrial system that destroys communities and makes us all less safe. We urge the stakeholders of Cook County to resist the temptation to return to failed and racially discriminatory policies of the past, which gave rise to mass incarceration, destroyed countless lives, and decimated Black and Brown communities in Cook County.

There remains much work to do. More than eight months after General Order 18.8A went into effect, approximately 2,500 people remain jailed in Cook County because they cannot afford to pay their money bonds.

Petition by

To: Cook County Criminal Justice Stakeholders
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned, urge you to protect the important bond reforms implemented in September 2017 and to work to ensure their full implementation. We ask that you do everything in your power to ensure that General Order 18.8A is fully implemented and that no one is locked up in Cook County Jail solely because they cannot afford to pay a monetary bond. We also ask that you work with the Coalition to End Money Bond and other criminal justice reform advocates and community groups to further improve the pretrial system in Cook County.