Illinois combats jail overcrowding with bail reform

QUAD CITIES, Ill. (KWQC) A new, comprehensive criminal justice reform law in Illinois aims to transform the bail process. Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill on Friday, June 9.

Rauner said overcrowding is a problem in many county jails, partly because low-level offenders cannot pay their bail. Because of that, they're forced to stay behind bars until their trial.

“Our system must work equally for all our residents, in every community, regardless of their income," Rauner said. "We should be focused on putting people in jobs not jail.”

The purpose of the legislation is to ensure low-level, non-violent offenders have their bond reviewed quickly and even lowered if they can't afford to pay. Offenders will also be able to earn credit toward fines while incarcerated.

Since taking office, Rauner has advocated for criminal justice reform. The Department of Corrections has recent;y opened three new Life Skills and Re-Entry Facilities to help offenders transition back into society after serving time. One facility is located in Kewanee at the former youth prison.