Today a coalition of elected leaders, criminal justice reform advocates, and working families unveiled a new ad campaign to highlight California’s unfair, unsafe, and costly money bail system with two videos: Turner v. Humphreys and Safety Over Profits. The campaign urges Californians to vote YES on the November 2020 ballot to replace a money bail system based on profits, that criminalizes poverty and communities of color, with a system based on public safety.
A “Yes” vote on the November ballot would allow California’s first-in-the-nation law abolishing money bail to put safety over profits and save taxpayers millions of dollars (SB 10, Hertzberg) to take effect. Bail proponents spent millions to halt that historic reform after the legislature passed and Governor Brown signed it into law in 2018.
In a video press conference with reporters, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs announced his endorsement of the campaign, urging Californians to take action in November to correct the injustice of a wealth-based system of incarceration.
"The civil unrest we see throughout our nation is a cry to transform our criminal justice system and a big part of that transformation includes money bail, which is predatory and built upon structural racism, that rigs the scales against black and brown people while doing little to actually protect the public,” said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. “The wealthy can walk free no matter how dangerous, while the poor are forced to plead guilty to crimes regardless of guilt or face financial ruin. Californians must stand together in this fight to replace a broken system based on profits for one based on public safety by ending money bail once and for all.“
“The money bail industry operates like a cartel, where billion-dollar corporations use bail bondsmen and trigger-happy bounty hunters to profit off the backs of California's poor and middle-class, while costing taxpayers millions,” said Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys). “It’s time to end money bail, and transition to a criminal justice system that values public safety over private wealth.”
“The scales of justice should never be tipped against anyone simply because they don’t have enough cash in their pocket, but unfortunately that’s exactly how the money bail system works,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). “Too many innocent people languish in jail - forced into either pleading guilty or having to take out an expensive loan to secure their freedom. No more. Liberty should never be pay to play.”
“The money bail system has a devastating impact on Black and Brown communities throughout the state,” said Yvonne Walker, President, SEIU Local 1000. “Working-class families are forced to turn over their freedom, their rent money, and in some cases the deeds of their homes –regardless of their innocence. A system that forces people to exchange their livelihood for freedom must end now.”
“Finally ending wealth-based determinations of who is incarcerated pre-trial is a necessary step towards reducing jail populations and costs while increasing safety,” said Lenore Anderson, Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “The commercial bail system wastes billions in taxpayer dollars each year, and fails to keep our communities safe.”
“The money bail system makes it a crime to be poor,” said Sam Lewis, Executive Director of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. “We are told it keeps our communities safe, but in reality – it is just another system designed to make a few people very rich at the expense of justice, equity, and public safety. I urge all Californians to vote YES in November to end money bail once and for all.”
“Under the current money bail system, people remain locked up regardless of whether or not they are innocent simply because they can’t afford to pay a non-refundable fee to a bail bondsman,” said Jessica Bartholow, Policy Advocate for Western Center on Law & Poverty. “As a result, people who can’t afford bail lose their jobs, their homes, and their families before they even get a day in court – just because they don’t have money in the bank. We must end this unjust system in November. ”
The End Unfair and Predatory Money Bail campaign is a coalition made up of criminal justice reform advocates, hardworking families, and elected leaders. Members include the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Californians for Safety and Justice, author of SB 10 Senator Bob Hertzberg, and coauthor Assemblymember Rob Bonta.
The bail industry’s pockets are deep, and they are prepared to spend millions of dollars to roll back California’s progress and protect their bottom line. We need your help to reach as many California voters as possible. Will you sign up to share our stories with your friends and family?