SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) unveiled amendments to bail reform legislation, Senate Bill 10, he introduced in 2016.
Natasha Minsker, Center Director for the ACLU of California Center for Advocacy and Policy, issued the following statement in response to the changes in the bill:
For years, California’s money bail system has been among the most egregious examples of a two-tiered system of justice – a system that benefits the wealthy few and punishes low-income Californians, many of whom are Black and brown people.
Since the introduction of SB 10 in December 2016, the ACLU has worked alongside a coalition of criminal justice, labor, faith, attorney and community organizations, as well as Senator Hertzberg, to replace the current money bail system with one that safely and substantially reduces the number of people in jail pretrial, addresses racial bias and disparity in pretrial decision-making, and ensures justice and fairness in the pretrial process.
In light of the recent amendments to this important bail reform legislation, the ACLU of California has withdrawn its sponsorship and support. The ACLU’s position on SB 10 is now neutral.
The new version of SB 10 will effectively eliminate the exploitative and abusive commercial bail industry that preys on low-income people, including a disproportionate number of Black and brown people. Senator Hertzberg must be commended for advancing a bill that results in such a remarkable achievement.
On the other hand, SB 10 needs to go further to be the model for pretrial justice and racial equity that we are working towards. Any model must include data collection that allows independent analysis to identify racial bias in the system, supports the use of independent pretrial service agencies recognized as the best practice in pretrial justice, and ensures stronger due process protections for all Californians, no matter where they live.
The ACLU is fully committed to working with our partners to create a fair justice system for the benefit and wellbeing of all Californians. We are committed to advance further legislative changes necessary to reduce pre-trial incarceration and to ensure due process and racial justice. We will work vigorously with our partners for state legislative changes and in local counties to ensure that the system that replaces money bail is one that provides fairness and justice to all.