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Money Bonds Still a Problem in Cook County Court System

The Coalition to End Money Bond—a group that has been working to end cash bail in Chicago—has found that while positive changes have been made in Central Bond Court towards implementing a court order that aims to ensure people aren’t incarcerated at Cook County Jail because they can’t afford to pay bond, the order hasn’t met its goal. Courtwatchers with the coalition found that while the use of money bonds decreased 48% after the order went into effect, half of all money bonds issued were still in amounts that persons accused could not afford to pay. “Entering central bond court is like playing a game of roulette,” said Irene Romulo, Director of Advocacy for Chicago Community Bond Fund in a press release. “Whether or not a person will receive a bond in accordance with the law is largely dependent upon which judge they happen to find themselves in front of. If a bond is being set, that means that person has been cleared for release by the court. In theory, bond is supposed to act as an assurance that someone will come back to court—it’s not supposed to be the difference between walking free and being locked in a cage.”

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