Friday, September 28, 2018

Toni Preckwinkle was reforming bond court when Willie Wilson was busy in China

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.
     Tuesday’s field trip to bond court was scheduled long ago and, to be honest, I expected Toni Preckwinkle to cancel, assuming that her spare time is now taken up by this bothersome running-for-mayor business.
     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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  1. I'm going to vote for Preckwinkle, but I'm not so sure I'll be doing her a favor thereby. I know she's much more savvy than Jane Byrne was, but Chicago turned on her before she ever screwed anything up.


  2. Why would anyone want the challenge?
    I guess there is still a bit of patronage, and tje possibilities for power and riches must be enormous, but at what cost?

  3. Whoever runs against Preckwinkle is just going to hammer her over that soda tax.

    1. True. But I think that because she lost that battle, the hammering won't carry much weight. She may even turn it into a positive: She can make tough, unpopular decisions and also, when appropriate, bend without breaking.

      I admire her. I can't vote for her because I don't live in the city, but I live in Cook County so I have voted for her in other elections.

  4. At least she knows what she wants to fix in bond court. With the city, county and state approaching economic cliffs, not one candidate has stated a plan, even a first step of a long term approach. Rauner lacked the courage to present a budget so a decade long solution to pension commitments was out of the question. If JB has any thoughts on the subject, I haven't heard them. Even the multi billion dollar professional sports world, that likes selling to city kids, can't find a way to manufacture in the inner cities. Colin, Chance, I know you are trying. Try prying some jobs out of the marketing machine of pro sports. Sorry I can't vote for you this time Toni, good luck with the City Council.


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