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Media Statement

The Bail Project on California Bail Reform: It Replaces One System of Injustice with Another

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Los Angeles, CA (August 29, 2018) – The Bail Project issued the following statement today in response to the signing of the California Bail Reform Act (SB 10) by Governor Jerry Brown:

“This new law is a step in the wrong direction. The California Bail Reform Act replaces cash bail with a state-wide system of risk assessments (algorithms that supposedly predict human behavior) while expanding probation departments and giving judges extremely broad discretion to detain people — not on bail, but without any hope of release at all. This is not bail reform. This is a new scheme of pretrial incarceration and it has great potential to entrench the very racial and economic disparities that reformers want to address.

Even the preamble to the new law frames the bail crisis in terms more appropriate to the 1990’s carceral expansion, than today’s efforts to curb the excesses of our criminal legal system and restore a measure of justice to the pretrial process. That’s because the entire focus and frame for the law is “preventive detention” – jailing people without any possibility of release before they get a trial.  Rather than address the fundamental unfairness of pre-trial detention itself, this framework creates new tools for holding people in jail before they’ve been convicted of anything.

This is not a model to be followed by other states and it is no way to end the injustice of cash bail.”