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Abstract

Topic: This paper evaluates General Order 18.8A, a bail reform policy in Cook County, Illinois. Methods: I use novel data obtained via Freedom of Information Act Request from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office concerning people incarcerated in Cook County Jail. I support my analysis of this data with other data sources. Further, I conduct expert interviews for a mixed-methods approach. Results: The analysis concludes that General Order 18.8A has some positive effects, including the increased use of non-monetary bail and a decrease in the Cook County Jail’s population, especially the population detained on misdemeanor offenses, but that General Order 18.8A did not meet its goals. Discussion: The paper finds that although General Order 18.8A has changed the types of bonds judges are assigning and has decreased the jail population, it has not truly reformed bail in Cook County.

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