Sen. Bryant Misleads About Use of Bond Money

“It’s absolutely not fair to the victims of crime,” Sen. Terri Bryant said. “From restitution payments to victims services, bonds and fees often contribute to vital services to help victims recover from their trauma.”

Fact Check: FALSE

The Briefing

The vast majority of bond payments are used to pay fees and fines that support government functions. A 2022 report by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and the Civic Federation found that the 95 Illinois counties that provided data collected a total of $83.1 million in bond payments in 2021. Of that, only $2.5 million—just 3%—went to restitution payments.

More from the Civic Federation: Based on the most recent 2021 data, the majority of bond payments are used to satisfy the payment of fees and fines, many of which support government functions at the state, local and county level. Across 95 Illinois counties that provided data for 2021 (excluding Cook County and a handful of smaller counties), bond payments processed and disbursed in criminal cases totaled $83.1 million. Just under half of those total bond payments, 48% or $39.5 million, were applied to satisfy court-ordered fees. A smaller portion, approximately 10%, were applied to satisfy court-ordered fines, and another 3% were applied to restitution payments. Approximately 39%, or $32.6 million, were refunded back to the person who posted the bond or paid directly to private attorneys.

More Resources

You can read more about Illinois use of bond money in this Civic Federation report. 

Rich Miller at Capitol Fax summerized some of their findings here.

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