Over $2.5 Million Raised to Repeal SB10

Opponents to SB10, California’s Bail Reform Act, have less than a month left to gather 365,880 signatures.  If enough signatures are gathered the measure will be placed on the 2020 ballot for voters to decide whether it should take effect.  Implementation of SB10 would effectively be put on hold until after voters decide the merits of the proposed act.  If the referendum is unsuccessful and not enough signatures are gathered, the measure would go into effect in 2019.  Those hoping to repeal SB10 have raised over $2.5 million.

The opposition to SB10 is backed by not only the bail bond industry but also human rights organizations that question the reasoning behind last minute changes to the bill.  Many believe that the proposed system in SB10 does nothing to address the underlying issues of racial inequality and discrimination against the poor present in the current criminal justice system.  Many wonder if under SB10 more people will be incarcerated pretrial, not less.

The ACLU, which originally sought to co-sponsor SB10, issued two statements regarding their withdrawal of support.  In their statement, the ACLU calls on California Senators to reconsider the use of risk assessment tools to consider whether a defendant should be released pretrial.  The risk assessment tools often used in pretrial services programs have come under scrutiny for using biased data that may exacerbate issues of racial injustice and discrimination against the poor.

It is unclear what the future holds for SB10 and the bail industry in California.  If enough signatures are gathered then California will at least have another year to determine the right course of action to take and hopefully work with all interested parties to come up with a strategic compromise that considers the rights of defendants, victims and the community at large.

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