The current cash bail system used across the United States is exploitative and unfair to working class people. The way cash bail currently works is by charging people awaiting trial a certain amount of money in the hopes of ensuring their return on the set court date. At the end of the trial, the money is returned.

However, people who do not have access to this amount of money are held unnecessarily and punished for being poor. These people would be forced to either not post bail and remain incarcerated until their trial or go through a commercial bail bond agent which charges a certain amount for posting the full bail amount. This amount will not be returned.

If passed, Proposition 25 would make California the first state in the country to do away with this process, granting people awaiting trials some stability and peace of mind in the middle of an already stressful situation. A YES vote on Proposition 25 would uphold the SB 10 bill in the face of a veto referendum waged against it. Under a law based on Prop 25, those charged with a crime would be granted their release until their day in court through risk assessment; these assessments would determine the flight risk each person would pose, with an opportunity to present the case for release before a judge. Most people suspected of misdemeanors would not need a risk assessment to be released. The specifics for this assessment have not yet been set but will be decided upon later and based on scientific research.

The lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Robert Hertzberg, said it was a “transformational shift away from valuing private wealth and toward protecting public safety.” The largest opposition comes from the political action committee Californians Against the Reckless Bail Scheme, a PAC primarily funded by bail bond businesses or by companies that provide services to them. Their focus is not on building a more equitable justice system but on protecting their predatory industry from becoming obsolete.

People should not be punished simply for being poor: Vote Yes on Prop. 25 to move California toward the fair treatment of all people, regardless of economic status!

–written by Arantxa Calles

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