(The Center Square) – Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins is criticizing the Illinois Supreme Court’s upholding of a state law ending the cash bail system, arguing it's an ongoing social engineering project that favors criminals over victims.
“I think this is a political decision clearly not in the best interest of the people,” Caulkins told The Center Square. “It will only lead to more crime while making recruiting and retaining officers more difficult as they go through the process of arresting people only to see them back on the streets in a matter of hours. Our constitution talks about bail and says ‘shall’ and not 'may'.”
By a 5-2 vote, the state high court last week overturned a ruling by a Kankakee County judge who had ruled the law was unconstitutional. The end to cash bail will now go into effect across the state on Sept. 18, making Illinois the first state to fully abolish the cash bail system.
Caulkins said he can’t understand how things ever came to this.
“This hasn’t worked anywhere they’ve tried it and it has even been rejected in California by voters,” he added. “I really don’t know why so many members of the Democratic Party here in Illinois think they can do this better.”
Courts will now have roughly two months before the law goes into effect to prepare, but Caulkins worries its impact will be instantaneous.
“This does nothing to improve the already dampened moral and spirit of officers in this state,” he said. “It’s like the system is no longer there to help people. Crime victims are being left out to dry at a time when we need to be working for the betterment of everyone.”
While there are some parts of the bill he and other GOP lawmakers agree with, such as officers wearing cameras and new training mandates that went into effect on July 1, Caulkins said there’s a reason why so many in law enforcement stand opposed to it on the whole.
“It’s only going to result in criminals who should be held in jail being right back on the street where they can continue a life of crime and even go after witnesses that might stand up to them,” he said. “The no cash bail provision has been criticized in other cities that have tried it because of the negative impact it has had on the safety and security of their citizens.”
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