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New Law Could Eliminate Bail for California Suspected Offenders

Bail letters with money on a table

Two members of the California State legislature have recently introduced a bill that would eliminate bail for the majority of California citizens placed under arrest. The law is intended to protect low-income individuals from being seriously harmed by an arrest.

Bail would be eliminated without evidence of safety threat posed

Assemblyman Rob Bonta and State Sen. Robert Hertzberg have put forward the bills that would change how California courts calculate bail. The bills would allow law enforcement to determine whether bail should be imposed based on whether the arrestees appeared to pose a threat to public safety. If the individuals are not threatening to public safety, then police can choose to impose alternative sentences such as home detention or monitoring bracelets. Should a judge determine that a cash bail is necessary, then the bail calculation would be based on the suspect’s income. Currently, California bail amounts vary from county to county and can feel arbitrary to arrestees. Assemblyman Bonta stated that his bill “fundamentally transforms a broken cash bail system that punishes poor people for being poor.”

New regulations on early release

Meanwhile, California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation recently announced new regulations governing how prison inmates will be paroled. The regulations are in response to the November 2016 passage of Proposition 57 and the increasing prison population across the state’s prison system. Proposition 57 was the initiative designed to reduce the state’s prison population by introducing more rehabilitation-focused programs in prisons and allowing parole boards to grant early release to inmates who have remained nonviolent and focused on self-improvement while incarcerated. The newly-announced regulations will offer more substantial credits toward early release to inmates who take steps while behind bars to better themselves. For example, inmates will receive a six-month early release credit for completing a college degree while behind bars. Additionally, inmates could earn a month of early release credit each year for taking part in a self-help program approved by the state. The prison population in California is only 1,500 inmates away from exceeding limits set by a federal judge in 2009, after a lawsuit alleging that California’s prisons were overcrowded successfully forced the state to reduce its inmate population.

If you’re facing criminal charges in Southern California, speak with an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are upheld, and contact Ventura criminal and DUI defense lawyer Paul Tyler for a consultation, at 805-889-9000.

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