California Lawmakers To Vote On Doing Away With Bail System

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – State lawmakers will vote today on whether to do away with the bail system.

The proposed bill seeks to help defendants who can’t afford bail.

Instead of requiring suspects to post bail, the bill would allow county officials to decide whether to release them based on their risk to public safety. They would have the option of using jail alternatives such as home detention or monitoring bracelets.

“We shouldn’t have a system where your detention is based on your income,” said Commissioner Dave Jones with the California Insurance Department.

Judges would also decide a defendant’s monetary bail based on their income.

A recent report showed from Human Rights Watch showed that the arbitrarily-decided bail system in California is unfairly punishing poor individuals. The report showed that people were being kept in jail who are never found guilty.

Further, the report found a strong correlation between the ability for arrestees to mount a defense and whether or not they could afford bail.

The bail industry and some victim rights and law enforcement groups have come out against the bill.

“I think it’s a mistake to substitute some risk assessment formula for what judges are already doing when they grant bail,” said Michael Rushford, president the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, in an earlier report. “I think we’re going to see more defendants who just don’t show up.”

According to numbers from the Public Policy Institute of California, median bail in California is $50,000.

 

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