2023 SAFE-T additions

The SAFE-T Act has been enacted since 2021, although with the new year, additions are brought to this legislation.

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Fiona Serifov

As the new year rolls around, addition to this law will be added to the SAFE-T act.

Incorportations to the SAFE-T act will be adhered to as the new year rolls around. Starting Jan. 1 2023, the implements added to this legislation will impact  law enforcement, courtrooms and criminals. 

The acronym SAFE-T stands for; safety, accountability, fairness and equity-today. This act was originally established in the year of 2021. This was produced in efforts to strengthen many areas of the criminal justice system such as: law enforcement misconduct, pre-arrest division, policing, pretrial, sentencing and corrections. Although, this was not the finalization as in 2023, comes to this part of legislation as it has brought concern to many individuals across the state of Illinois. 

In  2023, new changes such as Illinois being the first state to eliminate cash bail, and other changes such as the usage of body cameras on police force, becoming mandated by the year of 2025. As well as changed to police training among several other changes. Many see it as a controversial turn in legislation. Although, cash bail remains the main focus of confusion.

“Under the reform, judges will now be able to hold violent offenders without allowing the use of cash to buy their freedom,” state’s attorney Eric Reinhart said. “The current system allows violent offenders to post cash. The current system is not making us safer, and it is treating people unfairly. Every major victim’s rights group supports the SAFE-T Act despite all the misinformation.”

Misinformation has spread quickly through numerous social media platforms as individuals are interpreting the wrong information. What has changed is, instead of a cash bail, the offender has been seen by a judge to be given a set court date. Until seen by a judge the criminal will remain in custody for several hours.  

“It depends on when we can get them into what we call bond court,” officer Kourtney Nemec said. “[Offenders] go before a judge then right then and there [they] will determine [where they will need to go until their court date]. I can have someone in custody for eight hours, then the judge will say, no, I want him transported to county [or] he’s going to stay in county until his court date.”

Understanding the severity as to why cash bail is being eliminated in the first place, has sparked confusion of many. Yet, law enforcement will continue to keep civilians safe, as though safety is still top priority for law enforcement. 

“Our cash system was set down hundreds of years ago and is derived from outdated traditions,” Reinhart said. “This system puts victims and safety first and recognizes that not everyone has equal access to cash, but should have equal access to justice.”  

The additions to the SAFE-T act will come into play in the near future. It is crucial that individuals understand the concept of not only the elimination of cash bail, but the other aspects to this vital legislature in law enforcement.