Champaign Central Chronicle

The Student News Site of Champaign Central High School

Champaign Central Chronicle

Champaign Central Chronicle

“Purge Law” Passed As Constitutional In Illinois


Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, approved the Safety Accountability Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act in 2021. It was approved by him to make the justice system more equitable by eliminating cash bail and adding restrictions for police officers. This was met by opposition by rights advocates and law enforcement who filed multiple lawsuits, three of whom made it to the Illinois Supreme Court. On September 18, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional on a vote of 5-2. Pritzker commented, “I’m pleased that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act.” This made Illinois the first state to completely abolish cash bail in the U.S.

The SAFE-T Act covers policing and pretrial. Central English Teacher, Taryn Smith, stated, “Bail is not an equitable process. As with most things in this country, it benefits the wealthy and hurts the impoverished.” The SAFE-T Act will also reform the use of police force by making officers give aid after using force and the requirement to intervene if another police officer uses excessive force. It also prohibits purchasing specific military equipment or getting it through any military surplus program for police use to prevent deadly force.

In Illinois, a local judge will decide if the person accused can be released or not with a list of factors. Some factors are: age, the severity of the crime, a risk to the community, if they pose a flight risk or have attempted to flee the country. Dr. Ashley Farmer has said, “Anyone who is arrested and held in pretrial detention has not yet been convicted of a crime.” This means they are still legally innocent until a judge or jury says otherwise but many of those innocent don’t come back to their everyday lives. With 60% of people losing their jobs while in jail many also lose their partners with 80% of men and nearly 100% of women divorcing while being in jail.

Smith has also commented that “People are making a leap that if people do not need to pay bail they will feel they are free to commit other crimes such as the hyperbolic film The Purge portrays.” This is true as many are calling this law the “Purge Law” and could create a place similar to “Gotham” city (a crime-filled city from the Batman series). This shows people are not just opposing this law but are afraid of it which is not necessary as many people who commit highly dangerous crimes are not releasable. The SAFE-T Act was made and passed to make Illinois as a whole a more fair and equal place to live in, not somewhere to be afraid of.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Champaign Central Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *