The Truth Behind Banning Bail
Bail has become a hot topic issue. California is in a holding state as officials work to validate the 600,000 signatures submitted to put Senate Bill 10, California’s Bail Reform Law, on the 2020 ballot effectively stopping its enforcement in October 2019. The referendum was backed heavily by the bail bonds industry but also by human rights organizations concerned with last minute changes to the bill. If the signatures are validated, the matter will be taken to voters in 2020 to decide if the law will stand or be vetoed. While supporters of SB10 tout the injustice of the bail bonds system they fail to see the potential harm from its replacement. Banning bail does not solve the problems inherent in our criminal justice system and, worse yet, could exacerbate them.
All parties agree that America’s criminal justice system is broken. Courts are overburdened, jails are overcrowded, and arrests are made disproportionately across minority lines. Money affords you better legal representation and more opportunity to fight a criminal case. Undoubtedly, there needs to be change but to be effective it needs to be the right kind of change. Overhauling the bail system, a system that enables everyday citizens to be released from jail while they await their court date, does not solve any of these problems. If we put a system in place that does not allow for pretrial release unless a risk assessment program based on biased data agrees or gives extraordinary discretion to judges to determine who to release and who to hold, does not help those disenfranchised by an already broken system. Many argue that it may keep more people incarcerated pretrial. It could place additional burdens on our already taxed courts and law enforcement and could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
The answer to solving America’s criminal justice system is not clear. It is going to take level-heads from every corner of the country coming together. Once every involved party has a seat at the table and there is open, transparent dialogue perhaps then we can have true reform that benefits everyone.