The 21st Show

Offering social services to those awaiting trial


In February of last year, Illinois became the first state in the country to eliminate cash bail. What is cash bail? If someone has been arrested, and is unable to pay the bail amount, they may have to rely on a predatory bail bond company to borrow money to get out, or sit in jail until their court date, even though they’re presumed innocent. 

This practice will end in Illinois beginning in January of next year, but beyond just eliminating cash bail, advocates say much more needs to be done. The 21st was joined by the leader of a restorative justice organization, a project director from The Bail Project, and someone affected by the policy.


Cliff Nellis 

Executive Director, Lawndale Christian Legal Center 

Matthew McFarland 

Project Director of the Community Release with Support Chicago Project, The Bail Project 

Deshawn Nelson 

Former client, Lawndale Christian Legal Center | Owner, Mr. Nelsons Movers



Prepared for web by Owen Henderson

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