In recent years, bail has been a major focus for social justice advocates. Activists argue that bail disproportionately punishes the poor. They are often the ones affected by high bail amounts for misdemeanors and traffic violations. While there may be some merit to these positions, there could also be problems with doing away with bail entirely. The biggest problem is, of course, violent offenders. However, thanks to a changing of the guard in Los Angeles, CA, we may soon see what happens when bail is partially eliminated.
Statements by New District Attorney George Gascón
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, on his first day in office, told the press about a dramatic set of plans for criminal justice reform in the nation’s most populated county. One of his plans includes moving to phase out cash bail for all misdemeanors and some felony offenses.
Gascón said by Jan. 1 his office will unveil detailed plans to end the system of money bail “in its entirety.” On Election Day last month, California voters rejected Proposition 25, which was an effort to end the state’s system of cash bail.
A New Path
“I recognize for many this is a new path… Whether you are a protester, a police officer, or a prosecutor, I ask you to walk with me,” Gascón said at the first press conference of his new job. “I ask you to join me on this journey. We can break the multigenerational cycles of violence, trauma, and arrest and recidivism that [have] led America to incarcerate more people than any other nation.”
According to a special directive effective Tuesday, prosecutors will now be instructed to ask the court for the criminal defendant’s release. Bail can still be considered at arraignment if the defendant is accused of a violent felony or sexual assault.
In 2018, outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill ending cash bail in the nation’s most populous state. However, the bail bond industry challenged the measure, and a 2020 state ballot initiative that would have upheld the law failed to secure sufficient support.
A Ripple Effect in The Bail Industry
Of course, none of these reforms have any immediate effect outside Los Angeles county. However, there will be a major impact on the bail industry. As other cities and counties look to LA’s example, there is a good chance that they could adopt similar measures if it looks like they are having success in Los Angeles. This also sets a precedent for other progressive District Attorneys beginning their terms. They will look to this as an example of the kinds of reforms that they can accomplish through special directives.
Get Out of Jail With ABC Bail Bonds
ABC Bail Bonds has been supporting the Houston metropolitan area with quick, efficient bail services for 70 years. No matter what happens with bail reform, ABC Bail Bonds will be here to support our community. Give us a call when you or a loved one needs our help!