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Community members held a rally in support of the Pretrial Fairness Act | Main stories

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – The Illinois Pretrial Justice Network, Faith Coalition for the Common Good, United Congregations of the Metro East and other groups met at the Sangamon County Jail to share support for the Pretrial Justice Act.

The group says the law is well-studied and the only changes that need to be made are related to clarity for enforcement.

“We support changes that will facilitate successful implementation and changes that will help counties know exactly what they need to do to implement it, and we’re in favor of that,” said Brianna Payton, a member of the Illinois Pretrial Justice Network. “What we don’t support are changes that would increase pretrial detention and changes that would expand the power to jail people pending trial in our state, even beyond the current system.”

Illinois became the first state to pass legislation to abolish cash bonds. Advocates at the event say the current cash bond rules run counter to basic U.S. rules and policies.

“We have a chance to make what we say in this country, you’re innocent until proven guilty, where you can stay out of jail until trial just because you don’t have the money to pay your way out.” said Marie Franklin, a former law enforcement officer and member of United Congregations of the Metro East.

Speakers shared concerns that the state Legislature will amend the Pretrial Fairness Act to reinstate cash bail.

Reverend Martin Wolf leads the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Church. He is also the president of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good. He said the Pretrial Fairness Act addresses issues of excessive incarceration at the source.

“We’re coming together to advocate for systemic change, not for charity, but for systemic change to improve the lives of the citizens of Illinois, especially here in central Illinois,” Rev. Wolfe said.

After the rally, participants headed to the Capitol to speak with their district representatives. The group included residents from all over the state.

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