After working on bail reform in California for two years as former co-sponsors of SB10, we are saddened that today Governor Jerry Brown signed this bill into law — ushering in more mass incarceration policy, rather than real bail reform.
The bail reform movement is built and fueled by Black, Brown, and low income communities, women who have been exploited by the bail industry, formerly incarcerated people, and their loved ones. Our demand for reform is one grounded in justice and freedom. In a sad twist after years of work, this bill as amended in the final days subjects nearly everyone arrested to a new system of expanded pretrial incarceration and preventative detention. People who could get out and go home today pretrial, albeit at great cost to a bail bondsman, would have to stay incarcerated the moment this bill goes into effect. CA will have to reckon with only more tragedies and traumas that occur as the result of pretrial incarceration. Policy makers and politicians must not be allowed to perpetuate harm and entrench disparity as we pursue criminal justice reform.
Essie Justice Group will continue bringing more women with incarcerated loved ones together to free people from jail pretrial. As we await the outcome of pending bail litigation currently in the Supreme Court of California and the day when SB10 goes into effect in 2019, we will join forces with attorneys to litigate the unconstitutionality of SB10 and explore the launch of community oversight initiatives to monitor and check judicial behavior and prosecutorial conduct under this new regressive policy.