At What Cost?

What Will SB10 Cost Taxpayers

In estimating the costs of SB10 to taxpayers, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee estimates that it would likely cost “in the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”  The costs mainly stem from the need for courts to create, staff and train a pretrial services program.  Other estimates put it at closer to an annual cost of $1 billion or more to taxpayers.  SB10, The California Bail Reform Act 2017 was signed into law late this year, but a united effort gathered over 600,000 signatures to attempt to place the law on hold until the matter is taken to the voters in 2020.  Opponents to SB10 are currently waiting for the signatures to be validated.  If successful, the referendum would stop implementation of the law scheduled for October 2019.

Many have raised concerns over last minute changes to the law and an unknown cost to taxpayers.  While not all opponents to SB10 agree on how criminal justice reform should take place, all agree that SB10 did not present a solution.  One issue brought to the forefront by the bail industry is the additional strain that SB10 puts on an already overburdened court system.  Prior to SB10, bail agents provided a service of defendant tracking and monitoring at no cost to taxpayers and at no additional burden to the courts.  After posting bail, if a defendant failed to show up at a future court appearance, bail agents would bear the responsibility of bringing the fugitive to justice.  Many bail agents worked closely with friends and family of the defendant to help them stay on course and complete court requirements.  It is unclear what the future holds for SB10, but hopefully, the referendum will force the parties to return to the table.


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