What is bail?
Bail is used throughout the United States in order to give the court confidence that defendants will appear in court. It is essentially a cash deposit made by the accused to make the court feel comfortable that they won’t skip their court dates. Bail has been a standard practice throughout the history of the United States, and often enables people to get out of jail while they wait for their court dates.
What’s going on in California?
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on August 28th, 2018 that abolishes the long-standing practice of bail bonds in the State of California. Advocates of the bill have argued that the bail system as it exists is unfair to defendants and discriminates against the poor. They also argue that by removing the bail system, it removes some of the bias that people face in the U.S. court system face.
What replaces the old bail system in California?
Instead of being able to post bail, the court will use an algorithm to determine whether or not someone will be granted bail. It will take things into account like the severity of their crime and whether or not the defendant has a criminal history to gauge their likelihood of appearing in court
Does this make sense?
Under the new system in California, some people will be straight up denied the opportunity to get bailed out of jail when they otherwise would have been free to post bail. While some people will be getting out without having to post bail, many others will be stuck waiting in jail until their case has been closed. People and organizations are so concerned with the new bail system in California that the ACLU issued this statement arguing that the new bill “cannot promise a system with a substantial reduction in pretrial detention.”