SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Hundreds of people gathered at a rally at the State Capitol on Wednesday for bail reform.
Senate Bill 10, which would make major changes to California’s bail system, is gaining more ground. Supporters of bail reform say the current system punishes poor people for being poor, including those who have only committed low-level offenses.
Opponents worry the new bill could pave the way for more crime.
Those calling for change believe California’s current bail system gives an unfair advantage to people with deep pockets.
“Bill Gates should not have better access to justice than somebody from the projects,” said Senator Bob Hertzberg (D), District 18.
Senator Hertzberg authored the bill which pushes for bail reform. Instead of making people pay to bail out, he says bail should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
“We should look at everybody’s risk to society. What their flight risk is, what their public safety risk is and that should be the determination.”
Supporters say bail reform would help keep families intact, people employed and save counties a whole lot of money.
“There are 2,500 pre-trial inmates in our jail system, and think about what it costs the County of Sacramento to feed and house and to be able to provide for those inmates,” said SEIU Local 215 President Laphonza Butler.
The bill also claims to strengthen public safety by better focusing on getting criminals treatment. But opponents say it too easily allows criminals back on our streets.
“As a citizen I’m even more concerned because of what it’s going to do to our communities and our state with regards to public safety and people not being held accountable when they’re arrested or charged with crimes,” said Topo Padilla, President of Golden State Bail Agents Association.
Padilla also said he does believe some change is necessary in regards to bail amounts, which is something Senate Bill 10 also addresses. The bill will go before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, Aug. 30.