Newsmakers Making A Difference: Chicago Community Bond Fund

Bernie Tafoya
July 31, 2018 - 7:43 am

Chicago Community Bond Fund/Facebook

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- There’s one organization in Chicago whose main mission is to help some people who find themselves locked up in Cook County Jail.

Chicago Community Bond Fund is a revolving bail fund, that pays bond for people in Cook County Jail who can’t afford to pay for it themselves,” said Sharlyn Grace, Co-Executive Director the Chicago Community Bond Fund.

She said being out on bond can make a big difference in the outcome of someone’s criminal case. 

"Someone who’s locked up is going to have much less access to their lawyer. They’re not going to be able to participate in their own defense and they also face a lot of pressure to take a plea deal," Grace said.

The first bond was paid in 2015.

“Since then, we’ve posted bonds for more than 150 people. We’ve posted more than $800,000 in bonds. The lowest bond that we posted was $250 bond for someone accused of misdemeanor trespassing and the highest bond that we posted was $50,000,” Grace said.

RELATED: Chicago Community Bond Fund Frees 150th Person From Cook County Jail

Grace said her organization would like to see money bonds done away with altogether. She said people who are deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others could still be kept in jail awaiting trial on no bond.

"The idea behind money is that it’s supposed to help people come back to court. That’s not how it works in reality. We know that it’s much more effective to send people text message reminders than put up money," she said.

As WBBM celebrates its 50th anniversary as Newsradio, this year we’ll be honoring 50 Newsmakers making a difference in the community.  Listen for reports each Tuesday.

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