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Everything Illinoisans Need to Know About the SAFE-T Act

From Illinois Policy By Joe Tabor, Perry Zhao

November 18, 2022

The omnibus criminal justice reform bill became highly politicized in the November elections, mixing fact and fiction. There are problems with the bill, but state lawmakers can fix them before the SAFE-T Act takes effect in January.


The SAFE-T Act has been the source of plenty of controversy during the 2022 election cycle, becoming a favorite campaign issue for those skeptical of criminal justice reform broadly and no-cash bail in particular. Criminal justice reform advocates pushed back, labeling attacks on the bill as cynical fearmongering.

So who is right? While some states have moved towards eliminating cash bail, Illinois will be the first state to totally eliminate it statewide. The SAFE-T Act is a flawed piece of legislation that was rushed through the Illinois General Assembly without proper debate. As a result, the language is confusing and sometimes contradictory. Those issues should be fixed before the bill takes effect in January.

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