California Proposition 25: Replacing Cash Bail With Risk Assessments
This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all
Currently, California uses a cash bail system, for those awaiting trial in jail. But, many advocacy groups have long criticized cash bail, arguing it targets low income people who aren’t able to pay these bonds. In 2016, California Senator Robert Hertzberg introduced Senate Bill 10, or SB 10 — a bill that would end cash bail in California and replace it with a “risk assessment” system based on the likelihood that the person awaiting trial will fail to appear in court.
Those deemed low risk would be released from jail before trial. While those deemed high risk would remain in jail, with a chance to argue release before a judge. SB 10 was approved by both houses of the California state legislature and was signed into law by governor Jerry Brown in 2018. But, the law never went into effect.
Instead, a coalition called “Californians Against The Reckless Bail Scheme" collected 575,000 voter signatures to halt the law and give Californians a chance to weigh in. The result is California Proposition 25, the Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum. A vote yes on Proposition 25 would uphold SB 10, while a no vote, would repeal this legislation and reinstate the cash bail systems in California jails.
Bail associations have largely opposed SB 10. But SB 10 has also received dissent from more liberal organizations. The ACLU of California warned of a risk for racial bias with risk assessment tools and stated that: "SB 10 is not the model for pretrial justice and racial equity that California should strive for.”
If you think cash bail should be replaced by a “risk assessment” system and that SB 10 should go into effect vote yes on Proposition 25. If you would prefer the longstanding cash bail system remain in place vote no.