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“How did the General Order 18.8a Influence the Suffering of People of Color and Low-Income Beings?”

Author: Afua A. Owusu-Ansah

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE


The eighth amendment states that excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted on any person. This amendment is on the basis that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, therefore, no one can be imprisoned until convicted. Yet, the criminal justice system operates in violation of these principles and advertently subverts, causes harm and grasps the rights of society. The State of Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County’s Chief Judge, Timothy C. Evans, reveals that current bail practices allow judges to set excessive cash bails as a means to deny them from pretrial release. Thus, there have been many motions to change this unjust structure of pretrial release of laws being punitive. Policy change is required for legislators to speak out on revisiting the 8th amendment because it tremendously suppresses low income individuals and minorities. Bail and bond has spewed out on media platforms to reinforce the reasoning for high bond amounts, therefore, I am conducting an analysis of the media coverage endorsing a falsified body of evidence that shows more violent crimes being committed than seen in data in which creates ever growing fear in public safety of Chicago and criminalizes people of color. This will be explored through the State of Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County’s Model Bond Court Initiatives since the implementation of General Order Number 18.8A (G.O 18.8a) on September 18, 2017, and the undergoing Illinois Pretrial Fairness Act passed on January 13, 2021 by the Illinois legislature. Whilst thoroughly examining personal discretion, racial disparities, the influx or efflux of incarceration rates, and perpetual cycle of poverty. The method(s) used are quantitative data since the implementation of G.O 18.8a using Cook County’s data. My policy recommendation is for bail and bond reform to reduce racial disparity in pretrial incarceration. because the justice system fails to fulfill the grounds of the eight amendment that was intended to assure a released offender's appearance in court. In all, judicial proceedings should adequately act in accordance to the 8th amendment to prevent arbitrary results based on race and economic status in order to respect the basis of humanity alone and halt the production of falsified evidence on media platforms.

Keywords: Bail and Bond, pretrial release, racial disparity, State of Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County, media coverage, excessive bails, recividism, wealth-based discrimination