Experts believe race plays a role with jail release
A man in handcuffs.{ } (Martin Doane)

There's been a lot of discussion surrounding the Pretrial Fairness Act (PFA) removing cash bail to allow all people the same chance to be released. 

Experts believe white inmates are more likely to be released before their trial than other minorities. 

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said it's unfair the justice system is based on money given America has a history of discrimination towards minorities.

"My grandfather fought in World War II, is white, and bought a house in Chicago," Rinehart said. "Not everybody could buy a house in 1947."


Rinehart explained how many white Americans share this same luxury along with better job opportunities, which make for resources to get them out of jail if arrested.

According to a 2019 study by the United States Department of Justice, 89% of Illinois inmates were males, 33% of that group were white, and 50% were black. The remaining 14% were Hispanic.

James Kilgore is the Director of Advocacy and Outreach for First Followers in Champaign County. 

It's an organization that helps former inmates get readjusted to society.

 He said a large number of black people behind bars is a result of them not having the same resources as their white counterparts. 

"There's this disproportionate incarceration of black people which is also connected to the fact that black people are in low-income sectors," Kilgore said.  "Therefore, [they're] are also unable to make cash bond.

Dr. Jaleel Abdul-Adil is the Co-Director of the Urban Youth Trauma Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He's mentioned the nation's history of oppression through employment and housing has led some Black Americans to criminal activity in order to survive, but would eventually get arrested.

"There is no job discrimination when it comes to dealing drugs," Dr. Abdul-Adil said. "Harming sometimes your own community in desperation through armed robberies and other things"

"Unfortunately if you get convicted of crimes particularly felonies, that further denies your income opportunities, and residential location," Dr. Abdul-Adil said. "Then the system and the cycle just gets worse and worse"

Dr. Abdul-Adil added that black Americans not having the ability to pay their bonds, also means they can't afford a lawyer they feel is suitable to argue their case.

As a result, they are more likely to be sentenced to prison.

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