Governor Pritzker Signs New Justice Reform Bill into Law

On Monday, Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 653, a criminal justice and police reform bill. The recently sighed bill will make broad changes to the state of Illinois criminal justice system. Some of the changes include ending cash bail which would let defendants to go free at a judge’s discretion without bail while they are awaiting trial. This bill was passed in both the House and Senate during a Lame Duck Session back in January.  Certain lawmakers and groups opposed this bill and called it dangerous. Members of the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition said the action legislators took made the state less safe than it already was. The coalition believes House Bill 3653 will tie the hands of officers around the state whenever they are trying to find suspects and arrest them. Those who were for the new legislation believe the measure will halt systemic racism throughout the state. In addition, the new bill requires all police officers in the state to utilize body cameras, go through extra training, prohibit chokeholds and require the maintenance of all police misconduct records and mandate the utilization of special prosecutors in all officer-involved deaths. This new legislation was developed last summer following several months of policing-related protests across Illinois and the country. The newly signed bill goes into effect on July 1, 2021.


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