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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in bail

Fixing California's Bail SystemThe average bail for criminal defendants in California is $50,000 – five times higher than the national average. The bail system is meant to create an incentive for defendants to return to court and make it more difficult for potentially dangerous defendants to leave jail. After a defendant posts bail, he or she will be reimbursed if the case is dropped or results in a verdict of not guilty. Most defendants use bail bonds, in which a bondsman pays the bail in exchange for a fee. However, bail reform advocates say that the system disproportionately punishes low-income defendants. The likelihood of leaving jail after criminal charges is more dependent upon the defendant being able to afford bail than the risk he or she poses. As a result, California jails are overcrowded with people who are awaiting trial but have not paid their bail.

Reform

Bail schedules determine the assigned bail for each criminal charge, but the bail amount for the same charge can vary by county. Some California county courts are trying to combat jail overcrowding by lessening or eliminating bail for some defendants. Proposed state legislation would fundamentally change the bail system for all California courts. The bill would eliminate the county bail schedules and instead determine the need to jail a defendant based on his or her:

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