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Prop 25

a YES vote is to uphold the contested legislation, Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), which would replace cash bail with risk assessments for detained suspects awaiting trials.

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a NO vote is to repeal the contested legislation, Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), thus keeping in place the use of cash bail for detained suspects awaiting trials.

Official Arguments (click ▸ to expand)

✅Support

Now is the time to replace California's money bail system with one based on safety and fairness. End money bail. Vote YES on Proposition 25 for a safer, fairer and less costly system. MONEY BAIL IS UNFAIR: Under the current money bail system, if you can afford to pay bail, you go free until your trial. If you can’t afford bail, you must stay in jail. So, the rich can go free, even when accused of serious violent crimes, while the poor stay in jail even when innocent or accused of low-level nonviolent offenses. Money bail doesn't make us safer, and it results in gross injustice. Just one example, senior citizen Kenneth Humphrey was accused of stealing $5 and a bottle of cologne. He was forced to wait in jail nearly a year before his court date, not because he was dangerous, but because he couldn't pay bail. A California appellate court ruled Mr. Humphrey was "imprisoned solely due to poverty." Unfortunately, there are thousands of these stories. MONEY BAIL IS UNSAFE: Proposition 25 means decisions will be based on risk to our safety, not a person's ability to pay. Judges will determine whether a person poses a risk of committing new crimes or fleeing when deciding who is held pretrial—decisions won't be made based on the size of the person's wallet. Proposition 25 makes our communities safer by ensuring jail space is reserved for those who are actually dangerous and shouldn't be released, instead of the poor. MONEY BAIL IS COSTLY: Proposition 25 will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year. Under the current system, approximately 46,000 Californians await trial or sentencing in local jails because they can't afford money bail, costing taxpayers $5 million every day. Let's end money bail. Vote YES on Proposition 25 for a SAFER, FAIRER, LESS COSTLY system. INNOCENT PEOPLE SUFFER: The money bail system can force innocent people to plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit. When the innocent can't afford a nonrefundable fee of $5,000 or more to a bail bond company, but also can't afford to stay in jail, risking their jobs or homes while they await their trial, some will plead guilty, resulting in a permanent criminal record. In jail, most will receive little or no mental healthcare, and for many, incarceration will make their existing conditions worse. A YES vote helps ensure innocent people will no longer be forced to languish in jail or plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit. Vote YES on Proposition 25. THE PREDATORY MONEY BAIL INDUSTRY DOESN'T CARE ABOUT OUR COMMUNITIES: But don't expect the money bail industry to go quietly. It's a $2 billion for-profit industry, led by predatory bail bond insurance corporations that get rich off the poor. Proposition 25 ends an unjust system that profiteers off working people, which is why the money bail industry is spending millions to fight this measure. Safety should be our guiding principle, not the size of anyone’s wallet. Vote YES on Proposition 25. www.YesOnCAProp25.com LENORE ANDERSON, President Californians for Safety and Justice DIANA BECTON, Contra Costa County District Attorney HEIDI L. STRUNK, President Mental Health America of California

🚫Opposition

PROP. 25 ELIMINATES THE RIGHT TO BAIL FOR EVERY CALIFORNIAN California's justice system guarantees that people accused of a non-violent crime have the CHOICE of securing their release by posting bail or by order of a judge. But Prop. 25 replaces this right with an automated system of computer-generated predictive modeling based on mathematical algorithms administered by 58 different counties. Read why civil rights leaders, law enforcement, victims' rights groups and county officials all say NO on Prop. 25. CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS WARN: PROP. 25 IS MORE BIASED AGAINST MINORITIES AND THE POOR Prop. 25 imposes a computer-based system of algorithms to make important criminal justice decisions. Civil rights groups like the NAACP oppose Prop. 25 because it will create more biased outcomes against people of color and those from economically disadvantaged areas.

  • "Prop. 25 will be even more-discriminatory against African-Americans, Latinos and other minorities. Computer models may be good for recommending songs and movies, but using these profiling methods to decide who gets released from jail or who gets a loan has been proven to hurt communities of color."—Alice Huffman, President, California State Conference of the NAACP

PROP. 25: MAKES COMMUNITIES LESS SAFE California's experiment with "zero bail" during the coronavirus pandemic had disastrous results as many defendants were arrested—released back on the streets and committed new crimes within hours—and then rearrested the same day. Prop. 25 will make "zero bail" permanent, which is why law enforcement throughout the state oppose it.

  • "Prop. 25 will endanger public safety and makes it harder for police and sheriff’s departments to do our jobs."—Chad Bianco, Riverside County Sheriff

PROP. 25: DENIES JUSTICE California's current system provides justice by ensuring people accused of a crime appear for trial and holds defendants accountable for their actions if they don't.

  • "Prop. 25 destroys one of the best tools our communities have to make sure defendants appear and face their day in court."—Christine Ward, Executive Director, Crime Victims Alliance

PROP. 25: COSTS TAXPAYERS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR Prop. 25 forces counties to create a new bureaucracy to determine who will and will not get released from jail pending trial. This new state mandate will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to implement at a time when state and county budgets are facing historic budget cuts due to the coronavirus.

  • "Prop. 25 will cost state and local governments several hundred million dollars each year. This will force us to cut vital public services or raise taxes, something our local communities can’t afford right now."—Sue Frost, Sacramento County Supervisor

PROP. 25: OVERBURDENS ALREADY OVER-CROWDED COURTS Prop. 25 replaces a bail system that works well at almost no cost to taxpayers with a new system that requires additional court hearings to overrule the computer’s decision, leading to even longer delays in our backlogged justice system.

  • "Imagine a spouse, son, daughter or close friend stuck in jail at the mercy of computers and the bureaucracy, instead of having the immediate choice of getting out on bail or the ability to speak directly to a judge."—Quentin L. Kopp, Retired California Superior Court Judge

VOTE NO ON PROP. 25! ALICE HUFFMAN, President California State Conference of the NAACP CHRISTINE WARD, Executive Director Crime Victims Alliance QUENTIN L. KOPP, Retired California Superior Court Judge

✅ San Francisco Chronicle

"This is a significant improvement from the current system where money decides who stays in jail and who gets released before trial. As of June 30, of the 61,000 people in California’s county jails, only 17,000 were actually sentenced to confinement, according to the Board of State and Community Corrections. The injustice and racial disparities of the status quo are not hypothetical. Vote yes on Prop. 25."

✅ The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Besides some sheriffs and police chiefs, the loudest opposition to the measure comes from the state’s multibillion-dollar bail bond industry, which faces extinction. But it is hard to have much sympathy for an industry that is such a key part of California’s destructive and inequitable criminal-justice system. Bottom line is that it’s fairer to determine a person’s release on their level of risk than the level of their bank account. Vote yes on Proposition 25."

🚫 American Civil Liberties Union SoCal

"Vote to reject pretrial discrimination and make sure we end cash bail the right way.

Prop 25 gets rid of money bail across the state — but it does this by using a discriminatory risk assessment system in its place. These risk assessment tools are not scientific and objective; instead, they are racially and socioeconomically biased. Prop 25 also expands funding to law enforcement agencies and increases the power of judges to incarcerate people without a conviction. Vote NO on Prop 25 to prevent the use of racist algorithms that do not improve pretrial justice."

✅ Los Angeles Times

"They are correct that the ballot measure is imperfect, but there must remain adequate safeguards for public safety. Besides, SB 10 and other laws adopted in its wake include processes for monitoring compliance, correcting problems and working out the kinks in the interests of justice. The mandate to analyze pretrial detention data will provide a long-overdue examination of California court operations and disparities among counties. Proposition 25 is an important step toward better justice."

✅ The Mercury News

"California has known for years that its cash-bail system discriminates against the poor and people of color while transferring hundreds of millions of dollars from low-income communities to the lucrative bail-bond industry. The wealthy can afford to post bail while awaiting trial, but poor people must languish in jail or turn to bond companies that charge about 10% of the bail amount to free them. Little wonder that a 2017 report ordered by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye found that cash bail 'exacerbates socioeconomic disparities and racial bias.' Voters have the opportunity this November to right that wrong by voting yes on Proposition 25."

✅ Orange County Register

"The problem with the current system is that people who are innocent can suffer life-destroying consequences if they are arrested and eligible for bail, but lack the financial resources to pay thousands of dollars for a bail bond. While locked up for months before a trial, people can lose their jobs, fall behind on payments for housing and plunge into an even deeper financial hole. Those who are able to borrow money for a bail bond can suffer ongoing harm from the added debt burden. Poverty is not a crime, but for people who are arrested and can’t afford bail, it is punished as if it were."

🚫 The Desert Sun

"We believe Californians deserve a system that corrects inequities in how criminal justice is administered — especially when it comes to those only accused, but not convicted. The new system must be better than what it replaces, however. The Legislature’s SB 10 creation that would be affirmed under Proposition 25 is not that system.

Californians should revoke this potentially harmful misstep at reform by voting “no” on Proposition 25."

✅ California Democratic Party

"Replaces discriminatory and unjust money bail with a fairer system based on public safety – not ability to pay."

🚫 Republican Party

"No on Prop 25 – Makes 'Zero Bail' Permanent

Prop 25 eliminates Californians’ constitutional right to choose bail or pretrial release programs when accused of a crime, forcing them to rely on government-managed computer algorithms to decide who gets released."