click to enlarge Letters to the editor 6/30/22
PHOTO BY JOSH CATALANO
The elimination of cash bail in Illinois is set to take effect Jan. 1 as part of the recently passed SAFE-T Act. Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell and state Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, have been outspoken about their opposition, stating that it will lead to an increase in crime.

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FALSELY ACCUSED

I have to reply to the false accusations made by state Sen. Steve McClure in the recent article ("Illinois ends cash bail," June 23).

McClure said the Faith Coalition "is not an unbiased group. It is a Democratic group that buses people in from Chicago for their partisan events in Springfield."

The Faith Coalition for the Common Good is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization and we do not endorse or support any political party, nor politician.  We never have and never will. 

The Faith Coalition is an affiliate of Gamaliel of Illinois.  We have sister organizations across the state who are doing similar work in addressing unjust racial and economic policies.  Thirty-five Springfield-area institutions are members of the Faith Coalition, and they provide ample support and participation in our local events.

McClure has made these false accusations to demonize our organization and to further his agenda of keeping poor Black, brown and white people locked up.  His opposition is to perpetuate the prison industrial complex which continues to treat poor folks as economic fodder to maintain the prisons he supports across the state.

The Faith Coalition is a faith-based organization seeking to do good in the community for the dignity of all.  I would ask Sen. McClure this question: "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" It is a soulless act to lock people up for a $100 bond on a nonviolent charge they can't pay, forcing them into financial failure, loss of employment and sometimes, even custody of their children.  

We are all innocent until proven guilty.  Criminalizing those in jails because they can't afford bond is the narrative that McClure and Sheriff Jack Campbell use to get votes.

Shelly Heideman
Gamaliel of IL/IA State Director
Executive director, Faith Coalition for the Common Good

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NEEDED REFORM

I read the June 23 cover story regarding the legislation to end cash bail, which I believe is long overdue.

Many of these folks are charged with minor offenses and not dangerous if released. Those who remain behind bars often lose their jobs, and thus their ability to take care of their families.  They are more likely to commit crimes later in life, possibly because they can't find employment.  The decision to hold or release someone should be based on danger to the community, not on the amount of money in the defendant's pocket.

Regarding the revenue loss from bail reform, law enforcement organizations will need to approach city hall or the county board for their necessary funding, just like everybody else.  I don't see that this is a bad thing.  Are they really undisturbed about the potential for corruption with the current system? 

We definitely need this legislation.  I hope that it is not repealed.

Marty Celnick
Springfield

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WILL MISS MARK

I just read that Mark McDonald has been terminated and that "Illinois Stories" will end June 30 ("The last Illinois Stories," June 9). What a shame all around.  This is the best show on PBS and has provided hours of entertainment and education about Illinois treasures.  I find it hard to understand why anyone would want to terminate a proven winner.  

Mark has done an amazing job with this series.  If the Illinois Times story is accurate, being notified by a Zoom call that you are being terminated and the show is being canceled is extremely unprofessional.  I am very disappointed in this whole affair.

Linda Walker
Springfield

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