California just signed a new bill that will eliminate the money bail system by October 2019. SB 10, has bail bondsmen around the state in a frenzy. They are against the bill because it threatens their overall business model and livelihood. “Risk assessment” will now be the new bail guidelines for court.
“Those who are deemed “low-risk” would be released with the least restrictive non-monetary conditions possible, while “medium-risk” and “high-risk” defendants could be held awaiting trial.” (Sac Bee)
Every person who is arrested has a bond. From petty theft to murder. The current bail systems allows the bail bondsman to act like a broker/bounty-hunter to ensure the courts get paid and the people appear. Sometimes, families have to put up collateral such as their houses.
The problem with the current system is usually those who can not post bail, are forced to endure the treacherous bouts of prison and backlogged courts for minor offenses and crimes they may or may not have committed.
Kalief Browder is a sad reminder of the current bail system and what this court system does to young, Black-men. Kalief sat in Riker’s Island, a New York prison, for 3-years after being accused of stealing a backpack.
Eventually, all charges against him were dropped. Every time Kalief went to court, the prosecution said they needed more time and his court dates were rescheduled. To the courts and lawyers, it’s just a court date. For these young men, it is a life that is stolen and hell on earth they must endure.
Kalief’s trial was backlogged due to the number of cases that the Bronx District Attorney’s office has. In the year that Kalief was arrested, the Bronx District Attorney’s office had 5,695 felony cases that needed to go to trial.
People have made comments online alluding to the idea that this would be a “get out of jail free card for serious offenders.” However, Judges will have pure discretion over who gets out of jail. As we know, this will still disproportionally affect poor people of color and give passes to those who have the ‘complexion for the protection.’