|Toni Preckwinkle, right, talks with Justice Anne Burke, left and
Hanke Gratteau, direct of the Sheriff's Justice Institute,
after visiting the new bond court.
I had underestimated her, as many do.
“Today is all about pre-trial services,” said the Cook County Board president as her Chevy Suburban headed toward 26th and California.
I put on my pouty reporter face. Nothing about the three-ring circus primary? Aww…
“I have talking points…” she replied, glancing down at a piece of paper. “In September of 2017, Chief Judge Evans provided a general order to judges in bond court, that the default position should be I-bonds. Two thirds of the people, when we started, got cash bonds and one-third got either electronic monitoring or I-bonds. Now it is the reverse. … But we still have a very good compliance rate; about 89 percent of felony defendants released as of March 31 have appeared for all court dates.”
Or in English: Last year, most of those arrested had to put up money to get out of jail (a D-bond, for example, requires posting 10 percent of the bail amount). Now most either wear an electronic bracelet, which costs less than half of what being kept in jail does, or are trusted to return (that’s an I-bond) because if they don’t they’ll be in even more trouble.
Fixing bond court has been a passion of Preckwinkle’s — she took me there in 2011, her first year as president. Prisoners were being held, not due to the severity of their crimes, but the lightness of their pocketbooks.
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