Mass Incarceration

Winnebago County court proceedings under scrutiny of “court watchers”

The Rev. Diane Tomlinson of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Rockford is one of a dozen volunteers serving as a pretrial court watcher. She attended court Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, at the Winnebago County Justice Center in Rockford.

Spending a day in courtroom is often the final place anybody desires to be — particularly on the weekend.

However for individuals who need to see justice meted out equitably and effectively, courtroom B within the Winnebago County Justice Heart is strictly the place they select to be.

Since early January, defendants have been making their first courtroom look earlier than a decide and “courtroom watchers” on Saturdays.

The courtroom watching program, an initiative of the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice, was created in anticipation of the Jan. 1 implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act, a state regulation that does away with observe of money bail and curtails pretrial incarceration.

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Tha Bosslady

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