Symposium on Bail Bond Reform

Out on Bail: A Dialogue on the Dynamic Criminal Justice Reform Movement

The Symposium will address the impact of bail on the law, explore the origins of the bail system, and discuss reform movements and efforts. Across the country, monetary bond systems keep non-violent poor defendants in jail awaiting trial, while allowing violent gang leaders to be released because they can post money bonds. But bail was never meant to be punitive; it was designed to ensure that defendants attend hearings. According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, more than 60 percent of those awaiting trial are there because they cannot afford to pay their bond, not because they are a danger to the community

Friday, February 9, 2018

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Thorne Auditorium
375 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Please direct questions to Kayla Doyle and Steven Kobby Lartey, JCLC Symposium Editors:;

Schedule for the Day

The Symposium will be held at Northwestern’s Chicago (Downtown) campus in Thorne Auditorium in the Arthur Rubloff Building. The address is 375 E. Chicago Ave. The lobby for Thorne Auditorium faces Lake Shore Drive.

9:30-10:00 a.m. | Opening Remarks

Ronald Allen, John Henry Wigmore Professor, Northwestern University; Chloe Korban, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

10:00-11:15 a.m. | Where We Stand: The Status of Money Bail and the Path Forward

Panelists include David Ball from Santa Clara Law School, Colin Doyle from Criminal Justice Policy Program, Brook Hopkins from Criminal Justice Policy Program, and Elizabeth Rossi, an attorney from Civil Rights Corps. The panel will be moderated by Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

11:15-11:30 a.m. | Break

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. | Cook County: Are We Ready for Reform?

Panelists include Chirag G. Badlani from Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., Locke Bowman from the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Sharone Mitchell from the Illinois Justice Project, and Alexa Van Brunt from the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. The panel will be moderated by Professor Meredith Rountree, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

12:45-2:00 p.m. | Lunch Break

2:00-3:15 p.m. | Equal Justice: Race, Class, and Money Bail’s Discriminatory Impact

Panelists include Lydette Assefa, third-year law student at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Ellen Donnelly, from the University of Delaware, Sharlyn Grace, from the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice, Colin Starger, from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and Micah West, from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Economic Justice Project. The panel will be moderated by Professor Destiny Peery, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

3:15-3:30 p.m. | Closing Remarks


This symposium is supported by Professor Leigh Bienen, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, the Cranston and Catherine Spray Trust Fund, and the Irving Gordon Symposia Fund, established in 1996 by the Gordon family, Northwestern alumni, and friends to honor the memory of Irving Gordon, a graduate of the class of 1947, and a beloved faculty member of the Law School from 1966 until his death in 1994. Thanks also to the following generous Northwestern Pritzker Law School student organizations for their generous support of this event: the American Constitution Society, Black Law Students Association, Latino Law Students Association, and OUTLaw.

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