Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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From the desk of Bob Malkas: The SAFE-T Act – what’s in it for Lansing?


Local Voices

Bob Malkas

Over the past few weeks, I have been inundated with mail about the SAFE-T Act. I am sure you too are receiving these mailers. The legislation was passed by the Illinois General Assembly in January of 2021. The Governor signed it in into law that February, and it became known as Public Act 101-0652. The title stands for Safety, Accountability, Fairness, Equity — Today. The new law will change the way judges and prosecutors look at detention of those arrested for a wide variety of criminal offenses. It will become law on January 1, 2023.

Cash bail

One of the most controversial provisions of the bill abolishes cash bail in Illinois and replaces it with a system that will prioritize the severity of the offense, risk of not appearing in court, and the threat of danger the individual poses to the community.

Right now, a person arrested for a crime is given either a notice to appear in court or be held in jail. To be released the offender must first post a certain amount of money. The supporters of SAFE-T say that policy is unfair for offenders who do not have the money to pay the bail.

Conflicting opinions

The mail we have been receiving comes from both sides of the issue. Those who support SAFE-T, and those who oppose it. Because we are being given conflicting interpretations of what the new law is saying further scrutiny should be required.

The 764-page act was introduced in the Illinois Senate at 4 a.m., and it was passed at 5 a.m. Hours later it was then introduced to the Illinois House for the first time. It was passed at 11 a.m. No hearings were held or debate occurred. Our elected representatives could not have had time to hear from the people who elected them, even though the new legislation could have devastating results for Lansing. Who are we to believe? That decision is left to each of us.

The legislation can be accessed from the internet and you can use a print friendly version.

Mailers about SAFE-T Act

I first heard about the new law when it was explained in the South Cook News, a newspaper sent to my home. An article reported that SAFE-T would include elimination of bail requirements as being part of our existing judicial system. That should seem strange to a resident of Lansing, and should raise concerns about how known law violators are now being released from confinement awaiting trial will impact our way of life in the Village.

More red flags were raised when I was mailed a political flyer telling me not to believe the reporting because it was not true and the reporting was from an extremist group. Four additional flyers soon followed and reiterated what was sent in the first one. A problem which seems to be a sign of the times was presenting itself. Who was telling the truth?

The flyer presents “FACTs,” as they call it, to dispel the disinformation and instructs us “Don’t be fooled by phony newspapers.” One FACT says the SAFE-T Act does not create any non-detainable offenses. FACT two says if someone is trespassing police officers still have the discretion to arrest someone. That implies that trespassing is allowed and can only be stopped if a police officer wants to get involved. FACT three says convicted criminals currently in jail will not be released. SAFE-T Act does not address releasing convicted criminals, but does address a plethora of other reworkings of judicial procedure.

SAFE-T goes beyond cash bail

The scope of SAFE-T goes beyond the issue of cash bail. It also defines an additional set of rights for an individual in police custody, placing new burdens on police enforcement. The legislation adds to the confusion and makes body cameras mandatory for law enforcement agencies across the State.
These provisions of the Act should be made known to our people.

Showing Illinois is behind the times, Lee Zeldin running for governor in New York has stated publicly when elected in two weeks he will secure bail requirements in his state and fire the D.A. who has been applying it.

This is not only an Illinois issue on Thursday night it was discussed on the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News.

Local Voices is our version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Send your submissions to The Lansing Journal with “Voices” in the subject line.

Local Voices
Local Voices
Local Voices is The Lansing Journal's version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Voices” in the subject line.


  1. Of the 102 counties in Illinois, State Attorneys for 100 of the 102 counties opposed the provisions of the Safe-T act. That should say something. More than 50 of these IL State Attorneys have filed lawsuit challenging its legality. The IL Supreme Court has recently combined all these lawsuits together. Hopefully informed voters considered this legislation prior to their recent vote.

  2. There was a slogan years, even decades, back that went something like this, “Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time”.

    On the other hand, I thought that is what a bondsman was for–to post bond/bail. It is an assurance the charged shows up for court or forfeit the bond. If one can’t post bail because of financial difficulty, maybe time in jail will alter behavior going forward.

    Country singer George Strait sings a song called ‘I Found Jesus On The Jailhouse Floor’. This miraculous phenomenon is experienced by many who have spent even one night in confinement, if given the chance.

    How ’bout [them] rights…the right to a better life.

  3. This is so ridiculous and we have got to fight it! It’ll lead to martial law if the police cannot do anything about it we are left to fend for ourselves. Does anyone know how we can get this reversed?

    • Since Illinois State Attorneys for various counties are involved having already filed their disapproval, contact them. As for Cook County, the State’s Attorney Kim Fox approves of the Safe-T Act. Since this effects Illinois, contact any State Attorney. Try Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow who filed a claim to overturn the Safe-T Act.

    • Connie,

      The Will County State’s Attorneys office had this to say:

      To get involved, contact your State Representative(s) and voice your opinion, for or against the SAFE-T Act.

      The house is in a two-week session. Not known if the SAFE-T will be discussed in whole or in part during the session.

      The lawsuit filed by over 60 Illinois State Attorneys against the Act citing constitutional violations, goes before the Judge on June 6, 2023 (D-Day).

      The no-cash bail portion of the Act is one-sided favoring the offender with little to no regard for the victims.

      Illinois House – Robin Kelly 773-321-2001 Chicago
      708-679-0078 Matteson
      202-225-0773 Wash D.C.

      Illinois Senate – Dick Durbin 312-353-4952 Chicago
      217-492-4062 Springfield
      202-224-2152 Wash D.C.

  4. The lawsuit is already filed. I can’t see that contacting the various states attorneys who filed the suit will do much as they already believe it is not a good law. It’s now in the hands of the IL Supreme court and the attorneys arguing for or against. While this issue was not specifically on ballot, certain politicians who supported this policy were on the ballot 11/8. Remember who said, “Elections have consequences”???

  5. They are so despicable when they word things. They intend to mislead you. “FACT three says convicted criminals currently in jail will not be released.” Every criminal who is arrested starts out in jail. If they do not bond out or are denied bond; they stay in jail throughout their trial and conviction. Once convicted they return to jail and await transport to prison. They can’t be released because they must now serve their prison sentence. The statement that Bob quoted in this article is accurate. THE PROBLEM IS….people who could not afford bond and who have NOT YET been convicted WILL be released started Jan 1st 2023. Many offenders have trials that drag on for 3 or more years. If someone kidnapped your child, they are released the same day. The back log of cases because of Covid can have the offender back on the street for 3 or more years. He is able to re-offend (repeatedly)before he is actually convicted and held for transport to prison. Y else would they approve such legislation at 4am. The governor is complicit in this endangerment of Illinois citizens. He don’t care. He and his family have 24hr protection. His eyes are on the white house. He wont live in Illinois once his term expires.

  6. Under the old system rich people, no matter what crime they were charged with, could get out of jail because they have $$$$$. Poor people had to sit in jail, no matter how minor the crime, because they did not have $. They lost everything- job, housing, family, etc. while waiting for their trial. Also, Tucker Carlson is not a reliable source of REAL FACTS.

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