Our Bail System Is Broken!

Our Bail System Is Broken!

Time Range For Action Alert: 
August 15, 2017 to August 25, 2017

UPDATE: On August 25, Governor Brown announced that negotiations on bail reform would continue throughout the fall, postponing passage of SB 10 until next year. “I believe that inequities exist in California’s bail system, and I look forward to working this fall on ways to reform the system in a cost-effective and fair manner, considering public safety as well as the rights of the accused,” Brown said. He will be working on the legislation with Asm. Rob Bonta, Sen. Robert Hertzberg, and Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Watch for further action!

46,000 Californians are sitting in county jail right now simply because they cannot make bail. While wealthy defendants can easily secure their own release, poor defendants cannot. Nearly two-thirds of the people housed in county jails can’t afford bail, which averages $50,000—almost five times the national average. Poor Californians who have not been convicted of a crime are sitting in jail for weeks, months, even years awaiting trial—all the while at risk of losing their jobs, homes, and even their children.

SB 10 seeks to fix this broken bail system that penalizes the poor and does little to protect the public. Urge your Assembly Member to vote YES on SB 10, the Bail: Pretrial Release bill. This bill will:

  • instruct counties to institute a risk assessment protocol to determine if an individual is a threat to society or a flight risk.
  • release low-risk suspects without conditions or with non-monetary conditions (like home monitoring).
  • maintain the use of bail when appropriate—but set bail at the lowest rate that will ensure a return to court. 

SB 10 prioritizes public safety over the size of a defendant’s bank account. Releasing low-risk defendants pending trial is just fair. It also helps lessen the burden on our jails, keeps families from falling deeper into poverty, and ensures that defendants who want to plead not-guilty at trial are not pressured into pleading guilty to a low-level felony—just so they can return home. 

Tell your Assembly Member to fix our broken bail system and vote YES on SB 10! Stand with the League and with due process!