One of my old high school teachers posted about these two bills on bail bond reform on facebook. I’ll try to avoid getting too much into the legal nitty gritty, as you’re unlikely to understand it unless you’ve been arrested and sought bail yourself, but if you know anything about the American criminal justice system, you’ll know that it’s so broken that it’s one of the few issues over which bipartisan coalitions for reform have emerged over the last few years.
- This pair of bills would essentially reform the bail system, rather than allowing the judge or magistrate to set it at a fixed amount, there would be a pretrial risk assessment agency to provide recommendations to the judge. There would still be provisions in place for prosecutors and judges to ensure that potentially dangerous offenders.
- The argument in favor of this bill is that the ability to post bail is an economic privilege, making our justice system based on income rather than justice. What I find really interesting bills like this is the fact that they are legislating on economically disadvantaged groups as a protected class of sorts. In the past, protected classes have been defined by innate characteristics such as race, sex, gender, religion, etc. And certainly, we haven’t progressed entirely beyond the need for such groups’ protection, but acknowledging socioeconomic circumstances as a legislative issue is one step towards addressing inequality in America head-on. Though this bill doesn’t explicitly describe protected classes of any sorts, it’s unique in its awareness of economic privilege and the concrete consequences.
- Here is the senate bill’s text.
- Here’s the assembly bill’s text.
Who to call
- Your state senator. The bill will be heard in the public safety committee on 4/4.
- AND your state assemblymember, AB 42 will be heard in the public safety committee on 4/18.