Governor Jerry Brown made another controversial decision and not everyone is happy with it. Banning plastic straws (replaced by plastic lids) and allowing people to purposely transmit HIV to each other without it being a felony are some of his previous decisions that many people didn’t like. Now he’s changing the bail system to eliminate bail for suspects who are waiting to go to trial. He will replace it with a very sketchy risk-assessment system. This is the type of system that will give judges more freedom to determine who gets out before trial and who does not. This could keep people locked up who are not a risk and favor those who have friends in the system but are still a risk.
The cash system didn’t work either because that meant someone who might still be a risk to the public, but who has a lot of money, could still be released. The problem with the new system is that it might release people prematurely simply because they know someone who can pull some strings.
Determining who remains locked up before a trial can best be decided based on the crime they’re accused of. If someone is accused of murder, then obviously they should remain in the slammer until trial. If someone is accused of not paying their taxes, perhaps a person like Al Sharpton, then maybe you want them to be locked up – but they’re technically not a physical threat to anyone in public.
Bail is a very tricky topic and Jerry’s idea might work in theory, but his theories are often flawed when it comes to practice and his idea could be a complete disaster. Neither this nor the cash system work correctly in the best interests of the public or the innocent who are falsely accused.
There are too many mistakes that could be made if someone has poor judgment in Jerry’s new system and releases someone because they “thought” they weren’t a risk, but then that person harms someone.
Perhaps the better system would be based on the crimes they are accused of, but that too has faults. What if someone is accused of a crime but is 100% innocent? Should they remain locked up? That answer is no.
This leaves the system in a state of “what do we do now” and it will take a lot more in-depth conversation and testing to determine what the best method for dealing with bail is. As of now, there is no truly good system. Or is there?