Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is calling for a change in Illinois law so that his office can ask for bond reductions for poor, non-violent jail detainees.
The sheriff's office says there are presently 271 jail detainees who cannot afford to post bond of $1,000 or less.
Last year, 1,024 mostly non-violent Cook County detainees languished in jail for so long that by the time they were sentenced, they had already completed their full prison term. On average, the detainees exceeded their prison sentences by two-and-a-half months.
The sheriff's proposal is supported by State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), who is expected to spearhead the legislation in the Illinois General Assembly.
"The sheriff knows about the inmates behind bars," the state lawmaker told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I think he deserves the right to go before the court and ask for bond reductions on their behalf. The sheriff would not put his reputation on the line if he felt the person should not be on the street."