Nationally, one in three people are sitting in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. In California, the median bail amount is $50,000. If you can’t afford that, you can get out of jail by paying a bail bond – a hefty fee – to a private bail bond company. Bail bonds are not refunded under any circumstances, even if the court finds that you were innocent or wrongfully arrested. And if you can’t even afford the bail bond – well, you don’t get out of jail. Freedom should never depend on the size of your bank account, and yet in California it does.

We need your help NOW to change this system. THIS WEEK, the California Legislature will vote on the California Money Bail Reform Act (AB 42 and SB 10). These bills would require that people be screened after arrest to see if they are safe to go home and likely to return for trial, without charging them a fee, and would prioritize services to help people make their court appearances. This kind of system is working in other states and in some California cities already. With your help, it can be in place statewide.

  • The bail system hurts all Californians and the state economy: it costs taxpayers $14 billion a year – $38 million per day – to keep people in jail who have not been convicted of a crime. Most of this is spent on people who don’t pose a significant risk to public safety – they are just too poor to get out of jail.
  • Poor families take on long-term debt to purchase the safety and freedom of a loved one.
  • The money bail system preys on low-income families and people of color, who are most often targeted for arrest and incarceration.
  • Bail for Black men averages 35% higher than for white men, even when controlling for the seriousness of the offense.
  • Bail bonds enrich private companies at cost to people who cannot afford to pay their way out of jail. These people never get their bond fees back, even if they are found innocent or were wrongfully arrested.

For more information, see Ella Baker Center

Call your legislator at their Sacramento office and ask them to vote for the California Money Bail Reform Act (SB 10 and AB 42). 

Find your legislators and their phone numbers here: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

Call Script:

For Assemblymembers, please refer to AB 42 by Mr. Bonta when you mention the bill name.

For Senators, please refer to SB 10 by Mr. Hertzberg when you mention the bill name.

“Hello, my name is __________________, and I am calling from [city or area]. I strongly support reforming our terrible bail system, which requires people who have been arrested to pay a private company in order to get out of jail and go home, even though they haven’t been convicted of a crime. 

I support the California Money Bail Reform Act, which will require that people be screened to see if they are safe to go home and likely to return for trial, without charging them a fee. This system is working in other states and in some California cities already. What’s most important is it’s fair and it’s safe.  No more money bail.

These senators and representatives are of high priority for contact:

Assembly:

Baker (916) 319-2016

Burke (916) 319-2062

Caballero (916) 319-2030

Cooley (916) 319-2008

Daly (916) 319-2069

Low (916) 319-2028

Maienschein (916) 319-2077

Mathis (916) 319-2026

Rodriguez (916) 319-2052

Rubio (916) 319-2048

Senate:

Portantino (916) 651-4025

Stern (916) 651-4027

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