SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, commended U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., for introducing federal legislation today aimed at encouraging states to replace money bail with pretrial risk assessments, as he has proposed in SB 10.
“Every day, the national movement for bail reform is growing,” Hertzberg said. “This bipartisan federal legislation is the latest sign that bail reform is not a partisan issue or a rural or urban issue or a regional issue – it is an American issue.
“The present money bail system punishes the poor for being poor and doesn’t protect the public as it should. Whether you can go free before a trial right now is determined by the size of your wallet, not the size of your public safety risk – and that’s not the way it should be.”
SB 10, which is jointly authored by Hertzberg and Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, has passed the Senate and the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
The legislation replaces a pretrial process that often forces people of modest means to remain in jail until a court can determine their innocence or guilt but allows the wealthy to go free. Instead, SB 10 treats all defendants the same, regardless of income level, and releases them and monitors them before their trials, unless they are deemed a danger to the public or a risk of skipping court hearings.
Santa Clara County implemented its own version of bail reform in 2012, adopting a risk assessment method aimed at reducing the pretrial jail population. It costs the county $215 a day to incarcerate a person but only $10 a day to monitor a person in the community. Moving to this new approach in 2013, the county saved more than $60 million by safely supervising many defendants in the community that under the old system would have been held in jail.
SB 10 is co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of California, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, California Public Defenders Association, Californians for Safety and Justice, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Essie Justice Group, SEIU California, Silicon Valley De-Bug and Western Center on Law and Poverty.
SB 10 is part of Hertzberg’s ongoing efforts to restore justice to California’s criminal justice system and roll back unfair and overly harsh penalties and fines that hit the poor and the working poor especially hard.