The new California bail system system includes a presumption against release for people accused of violent felonies and for those who score high on a risk assessment tool, reported The Marshall Project.
People accused of low-level misdemeanors will be booked and released within 12 hours, with some exceptions, such as domestic violence. They won’t undergo a risk assessment.
People accused of high-level misdemeanors or low-level felonies will undergo screening using a risk assessment tool that will typically be administered by county probation departments. Most of those who score “low risk” will be released within 24 hours.
The courts will determine the fate of defendants deemed “medium risk.”
People the test ranks as “high risk” will see a judge at arraignment. Those charged with a violent felony or with other factors that weigh against them, such as a conviction for a violent or serious felony within the last five years, will usually await trial in jail.
For Senator Hertzberg and others who continue to back the new law, including the Service Employees International Union, which represents many relatively low-income workers, removing money from the system is an important step.
“We got into this because we wanted to eliminate the cash bail system,” said Tia Orr, director of government relations for SEIU California. “For us to be the first state in the nation to do this was something we couldn’t walk away from.”
Orr acknowledged the concerns about the bill, particularly that it doesn’t require the gathering and analysis of data on how the new law will play out in courtrooms throughout the state.
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