Too Many Gun Defendants Are Released, Chicago Sheriff Says

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People charged with gun offenses have been increasingly getting out of jail on electronic monitoring since bond reforms were launched last year at the Chicago’s Cook County courthouse Sheriff Tom Dart warns of a potential threat to public safety, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Over a three-month period in late 2016, nearly all of the gun defendants who passed through the courthouse got a “D” bond, meaning they had to put up 10 percent of a cash amount to make sure they’d return to court. Last year, half of the gun defendants were either released on electronic monitoring or on “I” bonds that don’t require them to put up any money, the sheriff’s study showed.

Dart told Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and other county officials that the findings are “alarming.” He pledged to boost the supervision of gun defendants being released into the community on electronic monitoring. “This needs to get fixed quick,” Dart said in an interview. He said he will reach out to the judiciary to seek a solution. “I am very concerned about it,” echoed County Commissioner Richard Boykin, who represents the violence-plagued West Side. Boykin is calling for a hearing with Dart, Chief Judge Timothy Evans, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Public Defender Amy Campanelli to “get a true accounting of this.” He said, “I am for criminal-justice reform and reducing the number of people who are in our county jail, but there is a big difference between those arrested on gun charges and those arrested for stealing candy bars. Electronic monitoring should be for individuals who are not a risk to the general public.”

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