Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-04-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Money bond, pretrial incarceration hurting Chicago's LGBTQ Communities
GUEST COLUMN
by Irene Romulo, Director of Advocacy, Chicago Community Bond Fund
2018-06-20

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


On any given day, more than 90% of people in Cook County Jail ( "CCJ" ) are presumed innocent and yet are locked up pretrial while waiting their trial.

Although the number of LGBTQ people at CCJ is not officially available, we can assume that a disproportionate number of them are part of the LGBTQ community since national studies have found that LGB people are incarcerated at three times the rate as the general population. Transgender adults are even more likely to be incarcerated, with 16% of them having spent time in prison or jail as compared to only 2.7% of all adults.

As of today, the Cook County Sheriff reports that there are 12 transgender people incarcerated in Cook County Jail. We know, however, that there are many more transgender and gender-nonconforming people in CCJ who are not counted in this official estimate. Pervasive misgendering by criminal justice system actors, increased risk of targeted violence from correctional officers if someone self identifies as LGBTQ, and constant failures to follow the jail's own gender identity policy all guarantee that many queer, trans and gender-nonconforming people will not be included in official reports.

Disproportionate targeting from policing coupled with increased barriers to education, housing, employment, and increased likelihood to live in poverty all contribute to the overrepresentation of LGBQ, transgender and gender-nonconforming people, especially people of color, in the criminal legal system. The use of money bonds, which require posting of money in exchange for freedom, further increases their disproportionate pretrial jailing since many are simply less likely to have the personal financial resources or family support required to pay bond.

In a 2014 Black and Pink survey of LGBTQ prisoners across the United States, 74% of respondents were incarcerated pretrial because they could not afford to pay their bond. More than half of the respondents were incarcerated for a year or longer simply for being poor. Even if someone is able to pay a money bond, conditions of release that require a home address ( such as electronic monitoring ) also lead to disproportionate incarceration of LGBTQ people, who are considerably more likely to experience homelessness than cis-straight people, and also less likely to be able to access shelters and supportive housing. The increased likelihood that LGBTQ people will be incarcerated pretrial is extremely concerning since LGBTQ people are at increased risk of experiencing sexual, physical, and emotional violence while in jail.

Pretrial incarceration also severely impacts the stability and safety of LGBTQ communities. Spending just a single day in jail can set off a chain of devastating events—not just for the person who is arrested, but also their families, whether biological or chosen. After just a few days of incarceration, people can lose their jobs, housing, access to medical care, and they can be kicked out of crucial opportunities like education and career programs. This is all punishment before conviction.

Separating people from their families, friends and support networks increases the likelihood that they will be trapped in cycles of arrest and incarceration, thereby making all of us less safe. The compounding negative effects of money bond and pretrial incarceration greatly outweigh any perceived benefits of jailing people before their trial.

Currently, there are 2,500 people incarcerated at Cook County Jail only because they cannot afford to pay their money bonds. Many have been in jail for more than a year waiting for their cases to resolve, and each additional day increases the chance that they will be forced to accept a guilty plea in exchange for their release.

The use of money bond and pretrial incarceration exacerbates issues in LGBTQ communities and communities of color, where long-term divestment and over-policing already deprive people of safety. These issues are even starker for queer, trans and gender-nonconforming people of color, who are often targeted simply for existing in public.

Eliminating the use of money bond and pretrial incarceration is necessary not just to ensure that accused people are able to fight their cases from a place of freedom, increasing the chance that their charges will be dismissed or that they will be given non-criminal dispositions, but also to ensure that we all have a chance to live and to thrive.

A person's access to money should not determine whether they will be forced to remain in jail or walk free.

To support bond reform in Cook County and ensure that people are not incarcerated because they are poor, sign this petition here: chicagobond.org/support_bond_reform.html .

Irene Romulo is the Director of Advocacy at the Chicago Community Bond Fund. You can follow CCBF on Twitter @ChiBondFund and on our website www.chicagobond.org .


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Cook County public health chief fired 2020-04-04 - Dr. Terry Mason—Cook County's public health chief, and a key player in the coordination of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic—has been fired, ...


Gay News

LETTER Missing Marc 2020-04-03 - Dear Editor: I want to add some thoughts about the contributions Marc Loveless made beyond those mentioned in his obituary in the ...


Gay News

FDA loosens restrictions on gay men who donate blood 2020-04-02 - On April 2, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would loosen some of the restrictions that have blocked gay men from ...


Gay News

'All in Illinois' launched to reinforce message to stay home 2020-04-02 - Gov. JB Pritzker launched a new statewide effort April 2 called "All in Illinois" to reinforce the state's core message, backed by scientists ...


Gay News

Lightfoot names next police superintendent 2020-04-02 - Mayor Lori Lightfoot named former Dallas police Chief David Brown as the next leader of the Chicago Police Department at an April 2 ...


Gay News

Open Letter to Cook County on COVID-19, Cook County jail decarceration 2020-04-01 - UPDATE Correction: A previous version of this message was sent out in error without including the Chicago Community Bond Fund, a primary author ...


Gay News

Cook County commissioner urges census participation 2020-03-31 - Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison will wrap up "#2020Census at the Brookfield Zoo," a weekly video series featuring information about the 2020 ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Lesbian bishop, iconic activist dies, military lawsuit, drag legend passes 2020-03-31 - Rev. Bonnie Perry was recently ordained as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan—beconing the first woman and openly gay person ...


Gay News

Over 6.5M LGBT adults to get $1,200 payout under coronavirus stimulus bill 2020-03-31 - More than 6.4 million single LGBT adults and 324,000 same-sex couples will receive the full direct payout under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and ...


Gay News

Idaho governor signs two anti-trans bills 2020-03-31 - On March 30, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed two bills into law that restrict the rights of transgender people. According to CNN, one ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.