In the summer of 2018, former governor Brown signed a bill into law that would have put an end to the cash bail system. Per the bill, the bail system would be replaced instead by a risk-assessment system. Low-risk people could await trial from home, without having to buy their way out of jail. Alternately, high-risk people will no longer be given the option to post bail.
The bill would have gone into effect in October of 2019. Recently, enough registered voters signed over support to have the matter put to the vote, instead.
What this means to you.
- Reform is not guaranteed. For Californian’s who have a run-in with the law, this means that bail reform is not a guarantee. Come November of 2020, your ballot will include choices for federal, state and local government. Also, there will be a question regarding if bail reform should move forward. The voters will ultimately decide.
- Bail Bondsmen. The state of California has more than 3,000 bail bondsmen and, 4,000 support staff. While that is still a relatively small number compared to other industries, it will greatly impact the families supported by the profession.
- You get to decide. How you vote will depend on how you see things. If you think that all people awaiting trial should undergo a risk-assessment which would determine where they await trial, then you support bail reform. If you believe that the bail system is fair, and working properly as it is, and supports the local economy, then you would vote against bail reform.
Between now and November of 2020, take time to consider your beliefs about bail, and what impact this may have on your loved ones. The issue is certainly worthy of healthy discussion and debate.