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How Will Recent Changes to the 2021 SAFE-T Act Affect Chicagoans?

 Posted on March 22, 2022 in Civil Rights

South Side of Chicago Civil Rights AttorneyIn January 2021, Illinois’ landmark Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act began to go into effect. This massive law, inspired in part by George Floyd’s death in police custody and supported by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, enacted a wide range of criminal justice reforms. Now new additions are cracking down even further on police brutality and civil rights violations.

Noteworthy Provisions of the Original Law

Policing Reforms. By 2025, all law enforcement officers must wear body cameras for increased accountability. Anyone can now make a complaint against a police officer, even anonymously. Probationary officers now have to train on the use of force, de-escalation techniques, and mental-illness responses, as well as ethnic and racial sensitivity. Police also have more restricted justifications to use force during arrests and are required to stop other officers from using unapproved force.

Pre-Trial Court Procedures. Starting in 2023, Illinois ends monetary pre-trial bail. Instead, defendants will be released upon promising to appear in court (barring certain restrictions).

Prison and Sentencing Reforms. In presiding over many common cases with mandatory minimum jail sentences, judges can now sentence offenders to probation, conditional discharge, or reduced terms in prison. Prisoners can now earn credits to reduce their sentences, and those on home detention and electronic monitoring can now experience open movement at least twice a week.

New Additions to the Initial SAFE-T Act

After the SAFE-T Act became law, there were still several areas that needed clarifying through the use of follow-up “trailer bills.” Following an initial bill in mid-2021, the most recent trailer, HB 3512, was enacted this January. Among its additions:

Police Discipline Provisions. Sets specific standards and procedures for law enforcement officers’ training, discipline, supervision, decertification, and reinstatement. Creates a demographically diverse board to review disciplinary cases, and empowers them to decertify officers engaging in misconduct.

Police Custody Provisions. Gives anyone in police custody the right to communicate with an attorney and access to a phone, and ensures prisoners’ notification of these rights. If someone is held without this access, their statements cannot be used as evidence.

How Do These New Laws Affect Your Civil Rights?

While the SAFE-T Act and its recent trailers add many new measures to diminish police brutality on our streets and expand freedom after an arrest, the law is growing larger and more complex with every change. So how are you supposed to keep track of your enhanced rights, or law enforcement’s limits? The only way is to either be an experienced lawyer—or consult one.

Contact a Hyde Park Police Brutality and Civil Rights Attorney

If you believe that you or a loved one’s civil rights have been violated by law enforcement, or you have been subjected to police brutality in any way, you are entitled to justice whether innocent or guilty. To find out how to hold them accountable for these illegal acts, set up your complimentary consultation with a knowledgeable Cook County police brutality and civil rights lawyer now. Call Kadzai Law Group, LLC at 312-229-0050 today.






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