Chicago

The Bail Project – Chicago serves people incarcerated at the Cook County Jail in the Circuit Court of Cook County court system.

With 3 million people, Chicago is the most populous city where we work. Once home to the largest jail site by incarcerated population, the number of people detained at Cook County Jail plummeted by nearly half since the court implemented moderate bail reform in 2017. However, thousands are still held on pretrial incarceration on any given day, and the court has increased the use of algorithms to determine who should be released from jail before trial. In addition, bail reform has been a source of political tension in the city, with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Police Department blaming reforms as a source of ongoing gun violence—contrary to evidence.

Team

LeVelle Brown Sr.

Client Support Specialist

Candice Ibaceta

Bail Disruptor

Shenita Jackson

Bail Disruptor

Molly Kraus-Steinmetz

Data & Finance Administrator

Samantha Matthews

Bail Disruptor

Matthew McFarland

Operations Manager

Fast Facts

Despite recent reforms, Cook County still has one of the largest populations of pretrial prisoners in the country, and the number of people held without bail significantly in recent years.

While the number of people released on electronic monitoring by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has declined since 2017, dozens of people allege they have been re-arrested due to faulty ankle monitors (which are the subject of a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office).

Over 70% of the people detained at the Cook County Jail are Black, and a roughly equal proportion are subject to electronic monitoring, despite comprising only 24% of the general population.

With an annual budget topping $360 million in 2018, Cook County Jail is the largest in the United States, and by extension is one of the largest mental health providers in the country.

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Need help paying bail in Chicago? Please fill out the form below and a Bail Disruptor will get back to you soon.

The Bail Project - Chicago serves people incarcerated at the Cook County Jail in the Circuit Court of Cook County court system.

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