In Historic Election, California Rejects Risk Assessments; Retains Cash Bail System


On November 3, 2020, the voters of California were asked to replace the private bail industry with a state program that utilized a risk assessment tool system that has come under question over the last two years as more research has concluded that risk assessments should not be a part of any criminal justice reform. 

California voters stuck with the state's traditional cash bail system in this year's balloting, rejecting the law adopted by the state legislature that would have replaced the private industry with a state-wide pretrial release system that at its heart utilized a risk assessment tool.  

Voters in California overturned a 2018 law that never went into effect because of a ballot initiative that placed the matter before the voters.  With more than 11 million votes counted, the measure failed Wednesday with 55% opposing and 45% favoring an end to the current bail system.  Therefore, the law will not go into effect.
Various groups opposed the law including:  Human Rights Watch, the ACLU of Southern California, the NAACP, and The Bail Project which said that the proposed fix might be worse [than the current system].
“The entire architecture of the law rests on the use of flawed statistical tools that codify systemic racism and could lead to higher rates of incarceration in some jurisdictions,” The Bail Project, which provides free bail assistance across the nation, said in a news release.

Under the new system, no one would pay bail and most misdemeanor suspects would remain free.  Instead, the costs would be shifted to the taxpayers.

To see more CLICK HERE.  

An additional factor in the defeat of the proposition was the cost.  The estimated cost of the new system would increase state and local pretrial costs in the mid hundreds of millions of dollars annually.   Stated another way, the new proposed system would cost an additional $500 million or more every year to replace a system that the private industry provides at no cost to the taxpayers.  To see more on this issue CLICK HERE.
 
For more information on Risk Assessments-  

The Four Failures of Risk Assessments-  CLICK HERE.
Why Would Any Texan Support Risk Assessments Now?  CLICK HERE.
Overview of Risk Assessments CLICK HERE.
Risk Assessments:  When Everyone Says You are Wrong, Maybe You Are CLICK HERE.
Growing Research Agrees that Risk Assessments are Not the Answer CLICK HERE.
Good Intentions Gone Bad:  What Lessons the Rest of Texas Can Learn from Harris County's "Bail Reform" CLICK HERE.

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