Lt. Governor Newsom on Ending Money Bail in CA


(SACRAMENTO) - Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement after Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 10 (Hertzberg), which was co-sponsored by Lt. Governor Newsom, into law and end the use of cash bail for pre-trial release:

"A person's checking account balance should never determine how they are treated under the law. Cash bail criminalizes poverty and with Governor Brown's signature today, California has opened the door to pursue and perfect a just pre-trial system.

"I applaud Senator Hertzberg, Assemblymember Bonta, and the many others who helped advance this landmark legislation and the fight against this immoral and unjust practice."

Lt. Governor Newsom joined Senator Hertzberg and Assemblymember Bonta to unveil the proposal to reform the state's bail system in December 2016. Lt. Governor Newsom called for an end to cash bail in a September 2017 op-ed, recognizing that the state's current system unjustly punishes people of low-income and further exacerbates economic inequality.

Senate Bill 10 will end the practice of requiring individuals to post pre-trial bail in order to be released as they await trial or sentencing. Under the current system, an individual's freedom is determined by their ability to post the bail amount rather than by their flight risk or their assessed danger to the public. Senate Bill 10 allows local courts to craft their own evaluation system to ascertain an individual's risk, and requires that any conditions of pre-trial release are non-monetary.

Approximately 64% of the state's jail population is individuals that are still awaiting trial, sentencing, or arraignment. Other states such as Kentucky have experienced success with other pre-trial release methods such as risk-based assessment and reform.

The consequences of cash bail for pre-trial release are devastating to families that cannot afford the cost and can no longer be ignored. The elimination of money bail is essential to ensuring that the justice system treats all individuals equally regardless of income.