Reform Money Bail in California

Nationally, 1-in-3 people are sitting in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. In California, the median bail amount is $50,000. A person’s ability to get out of jail should not depend on the size of their bank account—but right now freedom is out of reach for too many people because the money bail system punishes people for being poor.

Together, we can change this unjust system. Take action today to fight for #BailReform in California. Scroll down and call your assembly member now.

Most Californians cannot afford to post bail and so must either stay in jail or pay substantial nonrefundable fees to a bail bond company. These fees are not refunded under any circumstances – even if the court finds that a person is innocent or was wrongfully arrested. The money bail system preys on low-income families and people of color, who are most often targeted for arrest and incarceration. Whole families suffer, as they take on long-term debt to purchase the safety and freedom of a loved one, and women are hit the hardest. 

This year California lawmakers voted on two bills to reform this unfair and ineffective system that is harming our communities – particularly low-income people and people of color. The California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017 (AB 42 and SB 10) would help make sure California doesn’t lock people up because they can’t afford to pay bail and prioritizes services to help people make their court appearances while their cases move forward. Thanks to the support of people like you, Senate Bill 10 passed through the California State Senate and is currently moving through the State Assembly. Sadly, some lawmakers caved to bail bond industry pressure and AB 42 stalled. But we aren’t giving up. With your help, we can pass SB10!

The bill recently passed through the Assembly Public Safety Committee and is heading to the Appropriations Committee after the legislative recess, July 21st - August 21st. 

Call your legislator at their Sacramento office and ask them to vote for the California Money Bail Reform Act  

Find your legislators and their phone numbers here. If your assembly member is on the appropriations committee it is urgent that you call. Appropriations Committee Members: Lorena Gonzales, Frank Bigelow, Richard Bloom, Raul Bocanegra, Rob Bonta, William Brough, Ian Charles Calderon, Edwin Chau, Susan Talamantes Eggman, Vince Fong, Laura Friedman, James Gallagher, Eduardo Garcia, Adam Gray, Al Muratsuchi, Jay Obernolte, Eloise Reyes.

Call Script:

If your Assembly Member voted Yes:

Yes Votes: Aguiar-Curry, Berman, Bloom, Bonta, Burke, Caballero, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Dababneh, Eggman, Friedman, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gloria, Gomez, Gonzalez Fletcher, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Levine, Limón, Low, McCarty, Mullin, Nazarian, Quirk, Ridley-Thomas, Santiago, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Wood, Rendon

“Hello, my name is __________________, and I am calling from [city or area].  Thank you for supporting bail reform, standing up for justice and California families, and voting YES on AB 42 (Bonta) the California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017.  

California's current bail system is punishing whole families and communities. Most Californians cannot afford to post bail and so must either stay in jail or pay substantial nonrefundable fees to a bail bond company. These fees are not refunded - even if the court finds that a person is innocent or was wrongfully arrested.

With your YES vote on AB 42, you showed that you are willing to put community well-being, economic security, and safety before industry profits. Thank you. I hope you will do the same when SB 10 (D-Hertzberg), AB 42’s partner bill, is considered in the Assembly.

If your Assembly Member voted No:

No Votes: Acosta, Travis Allen, Arambula, Baker, Bigelow, Brough, Cervantes, Chávez, Chen, Cooley, Cooper, Cunningham, Dahle, Daly, Flora, Fong, Frazier, Gallagher, Gray, Grayson, Harper, Irwin, Kiley, Lackey, Mathis, Mayes, Medina, Melendez, Obernolte, Patterson, Quirk-Silva, Rodriguez, Rubio, Salas, Steinorth, Voepel, Waldron

Hello, my name is __________________, and I am calling from [city or area]. As a concerned Californian, I was disappointed and discouraged to learn you did not support the California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017 – AB 42 (Bonta) – when it came up for a vote in the Assembly.

We need bail reform in California to ensure that people are not held in jail after an arrest simply because they cannot afford to post bail. The effect of the Act would be to ensure that people return to court as required and that the public is protected while ending the current bail system's cruel discrimination against low-income Californians and people of color.

California's current bail system is punishing whole families and communities. Most Californians cannot afford to post bail and so must either stay in jail or pay substantial nonrefundable fees to a bail bond company. These fees are not refunded - even if the court finds that a person is innocent or was wrongfully arrested.

I hope you will do the right thing and put community well-being, economic security, and safety before industry profits when SB 10 (D-Hertzberg), AB 42’s partner bill, is considered in the Assembly.

Abstained: Bocanegra, Calderon, Choi, Gipson, Maienschein, Muratsuchi, O'Donnell, Reyes

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is proud to be co-sponsoring the California Money Bail Reform Act with Anti Recidivism Coalition, Silicon Valley Debug, Essie Justice Group, SEIU, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Californians for Safety and Justice, American Civil Liberties Union, and California Public Defenders Association.