Chicago businessman and former Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson wants to spend thousands of dollars to bail certain inmates out of the Cook County Jail.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports on what some might see as an unconventional crime fighting plan.
“If we can save one out of a thousand, then it’s worth it,” Wilson says.
He’s talking about inmates at the Cook County Jail booked on nonviolent, misdemeanor charges, who don’t have enough money to post bond.
Wilson wants to bail them out to give them a second chance.
“If I let you sit there you don’t have a chance to get a good education, get a job, or start your life over,” he said.
For his pilot program, Wilson plans to invest $15,000 to bail out 15-20 inmates with bonds set at $1,000 or less. He also plans to give each of them $200 in cash once they’re out.
“I can’t police them. All I can do is do a good deed and hope for the best,” Wilson said. “I’m trusting that they’ll make the right decision and understanding the situation.”
In addition to the financial help, Wilson plans to offer them resources to get on a better path.
“If you don’t have a GED, will you consider going to school for GED or a trade? If there’s a drug problem, will you consider going for something to get some help,” Wilson says he’ll ask inmates.
Helping young people get on the right path is a cause close to Wilson’s heart–especially after one of his sons went to jail on drug charges and was shot to death shortly after getting out.
Wilson couldn’t save his son, but he hopes to save others.
“ [I] just hope that they can get out and they have a different mind, different perspective.”
Wilson is working with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to identify the inmates who might best benefit from his program. He hopes to start bonding people out soon.