010823CM0315SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) — the chief sponsor of the SAFE-T Act — released the following statement after the Illinois Supreme Court upheld provisions of the Pretrial Fairness Act:

“Since day one, I have maintained that the cash bail system places an undue burden on poor people accused of crime and in and of itself does not adequately make our communities safe. What will make our communities safer is a focus on the totality of circumstances behind crime, holding those responsible accountable, and most importantly ensuring crime doesn’t happen in the first place.

“From the beginning, I disagreed with the plaintiff’s claim that the General Assembly exceeded its authority in this case and am glad the Illinois Supreme Court agreed. The General Assembly is charged with passing laws that will improve the quality of life in our communities and that was true in this case. By upholding this monumental legislation, the Illinois Supreme Court is providing for greater protections and more humane treatment of those who have been arrested and accused of crime.

“Change — when it comes — often faces push back from those who seek to continue to invest in the way things are, which has produced disparate outcomes and had devastating impacts on communities. The goal of the proponents of this law has always been and continues to be for the phrase “equal justice under the law,” to be more than an aspirational statement, but the reality of our criminal legal system.

“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. 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.

“While we celebrate today’s outcome, our work continues.”