SPRINGFIELD – To streamline a fair and just pretrial process, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. is collaborating with the court system to enhance the Office of Statewide Pretrial Services.

“The Office of Statewide Pretrial Services will serve as a beacon of fairness, equity and efficiency in this critical phase of the legal process,” said Sims (D-Chicago). “By assessing risk rather than wealth, the office will ensure that pretrial decisions are rooted in principles of justice, not financial privilege.”

Following the passage of the Pretrial Fairness Act in 2021, the Illinois Supreme Court created the Office of Statewide Pretrial Services. It employs pretrial service officers who conduct pretrial investigations and provide pretrial supervision. To date, the office has completed 11,932 investigations and 11,607 defendants have been ordered to its supervision.

Sims’ measure would codify the office into law, allowing it to provide pretrial services to circuit courts and counties that don’t currently have pretrial services agencies. It further would ensure the office creates – and enforces – uniform standards to pretrial services.

Sims played an instrumental part in Illinois’ transition toward a new pretrial system that allows courts to hold violent offenders who would ordinarily be able to use cash to pay for release through the passage of the SAFE-T Act.

“We must ensure that every individual, regardless of background or circumstance, is afforded the same rights and opportunities during the pretrial phase,” said Sims. “The Office of Statewide Pretrial Services will play a vital role in upholding the presumption of innocence, safeguards due process, and champions the values upon which our legal system was founded.”

House Bill 4621 passed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday.