peters sims harmon 071823SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Pretrial Fairness Act provisions of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus-championed SAFE-T Act are constitutional.

“I am extremely proud that our state’s highest court is prioritizing public safety over wealth. This historic decision is the culmination of over a decade of organizing from countless grassroots organizations that deal directly with vulnerable communities in which cash bail has affected, including groups that support survivors of gender-based violence,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “I would like to take this opportunity to specifically thank the Coalition to End Money Bond, the State’s Attorneys Association, the Sheriff’s Association and survivor advocates for their assistance in getting pretrial fairness across the finish line.”

The state’s top court signaled in their opinion that the state can eliminate cash bail and shift toward a process that determines whether someone is held in the criminal justice system based on their danger and flight risk, rather than their wealth.


“Today’s decision will allow us to continue the long-overdue step toward dismantling systemic racism and eliminating the practices which have created barriers to opportunities and obstacles to prosperity for far too long,” said State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago). “Illinois continues to show the rest of the nation that monumental change is possible to make the criminal legal system fair, equitable and just for all.”


Starting Jan. 1, 2023, the Pretrial Fairness Act portion of the SAFE-T Act was set to take effect. However, this provision of the SAFE-T Act was put on hold after prosecutors in 64 counties filed lawsuits claiming the law was unconstitutional, and a Kankakee County judge ruled in their favor.

Following the Illinois Supreme Court’s Tuesday ruling, the Pretrial Fairness Act will take effect Sept. 18, 2023.

“The court’s decision today culminates a long and challenging journey toward fundamental fairness in our legal system that would ensure the accused stay behind bars because they are dangerous, not because they lack dollars in their pockets,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “The unjust foundations of our society were not built quickly and they will not be dismantled with ease. But we have taken a great step forward today, and I look forward to the road ahead.” 

To read the Illinois Supreme Court’s full opinion, click here.