Pritzker signs SAFE-T Act amendment

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Photo by Tom Wray

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday signed HB1095, a series of amendments and clarifications to the landmark SAFE-T Act, originally passed in 2021.

The amendment is meant to address misinformation related to the Act, which was a major topic during the 2022 election for governor.

“I’m pleased that the General Assembly has passed clarifications that uphold the principle we fought to protect: to bring an end to a system where wealthy violent offenders can buy their way out of jail, while less fortunate nonviolent offenders wait in jail for trial,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Advocates and lawmakers came together and put in hours of work to strengthen and clarify this law, uphold our commitment to equity, and keep people safe.”

Republican candidate Darren Bailey made the SAFE-T Act a cornerstone of his losing campaign. Many district attorneys and county sheriffs also objected parts of the law.

Changes to the law clarify court authority in controlling electronic monitoring and escape, outline specific guidelines for trespassing violations, and create a grant program to aid public defenders with increased caseloads. The amendments strengthen and clarify the main principle of the SAFE-T Act- to ensure that individuals who pose a risk to the community aren’t released from jail just because they are able to pay bail while people without financial means sit in jail regardless of whether they pose a risk at all.

“We understand that public safety is not a static issue,” said Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria). “This legislation strengthens the underlying SAFE-T Act with valuable feedback from survivors, law enforcement, prosecutors and other public safety advocates. If we want to make our communities safer, we have to work together. This update is a step in the right direction.”

“It’s vital the pretrial system in Illinois remains equitable and that all individuals are treated fairly, regardless of financial status,” said State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “After collaboration between a diverse group, we were able to create a measure that ensures public safety and maintains the intent of the Pretrial Fairness Act. I am proud of everyone’s collaborative effort and their commitment to make Illinois safe.”