The bail industry is under fire in California. Not only is Equal Justice’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of money bail moving towards conclusion in San Francisco, the legislature is gearing up again to reform the bail laws. According to a recent article in the Orange County Register, the bail industry was able to “derail” two bills last session but may not be able to hold the line in 2018. Both a working group established by California’s chief justice and Governor Jerry Brown have recently endorsed bail reform.
As Equal Justice has argued since its founding, money bail is unconstitutional and bad policy. It allows wealthy people accused of a violent felonies to buy their freedom, while saddling the California taxpayers with the cost of detaining indigent arrestees accused of minor crimes. As Steven Greenhut, the article’s author, points out, bail bondsmen may make good reality TV stars, but the system they enforce is bad for everyone else. Let’s hope its days are numbered in California.