Governor Jerry Brown Eliminates Cash Bail in California in Historic Reform. Opposers of the Bill Say It Introduces New Problems while Bail Industry Panics

Governor Jerry Brown Eliminates Cash Bail in California in Historic Reform. Opposers of the Bill Say It Introduces New Problems while Bail Industry Panics

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB10, the California Money Bail Reform Act, eliminating the bail system in California “so that rich and poor are treated equally.”

The cash bail system allows people awaiting trial to be released from custody after paying money as a form of insurance against flight. The amount of bail is determined by a judge based on the severity of a crime and the risk of running away.

If the detainee cannot afford bail, they have the option of taking out a bond with an insurance company. The money is lent in exchange for a premium. The problem with this system is that people unable to come up with the money, even when innocent,  remain in custody awaiting trial, which could take months. Advocates of the Bill argue that SB10 would end the predatory bail industry and wealth as a determinator of who goes to jail during pre-trial.

Supporters of SB-10 contend that this law helps immigrants and minority defendants who remain detained for extended periods of time because they cannot afford bail. However, some immigrant rights organizations oppose the law stating that the risk assessment that would replace bail through SB-10 overly empowers judges and the groups who would determine who is a risk to society and whether or not they should be released.


governor brown signs
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Administrative Director Martin Hoshino meet in Governor Brown’s office for the signing of SB10. Source: California Courts Newsroom


Francisco Cuevas, a correspondent for Telemundo News, reported that Human Rights Watch revealed that thousands of Latinos are held in jails in the US because they cannot afford bail.  The amounts are set so high, that it is impossible for many to pay them.

The bill has sparked heated debates. Advocates celebrate SB 10 as the bill that will end cash bail which criminalizes poverty. Others critique the bill as incomplete, trading one problem for another. This group sees the risk assessment as the new discriminating tool. The bail bond industry fears it will be wiped in California as they prepare to fight back. “You don’t eliminate an industry and expect those people to go down quietly, said David Quintana a lobbyist for the California Bail Agents Association to the Sacramento Bee.



The law will go into effect in October 2019. SB 10 removes money as a variable for pretrial detention and replaces it with a risk assessment that would evaluate arrests based on low (would be released with the least restrictive conditions), medium (an individual could be released or held), and high risk (would remain in custody until arraignment) to public safety.

Nearly 2/3 of California inmates are being held in jail awaiting trial, according to the Sacramento Bee.

“California made history by ending money bail and took a significant step towards amending the injustice at the heart of our criminal justice system. For decades, the money bail system has created a two-tiered system that prioritizes profit and penalizes poverty, and has been especially detrimental for communities of color. In America, your bank account must not determine your access to justice, and passing SB 10 is an important step towards creating a criminal justice system that is more just and equitable.” NextGen American Founder and President, Tom Stayer.

For the full text of the bill today, visit






Soledad Quartucci

Dr. Soledad Vidal Quartucci has a PhD from UC Irvine in United States History with an emphasis in Immigration and Feminist studies. She has a passion for bringing immigrant narratives to the forefront of the American experience. Immigrants’ concerns and contributions don’t normally make it to mainstream American news. Her writings are a contribution to broadening what makes news in America; she is especially interested in raising awareness of urgent human rights concerns surrounding the immigrant American experience and its interconnectedness to Central and Latin American politics and histories. Her dissertation, “Politics, Community and Pleasure: The Making of Mexican American Cold War Narratives in the Pages of La Opinion” adds a chapter to the cultural history of the post war period--one that has primarily focused on the experiences of Anglo Americans--by bringing to light how the Mexican American newspaper La Opinion interpreted and helped to shape the period. An analysis of La Opinion reveals a community’s preoccupation with identity politics, cultural pride and assimilative practices. The dissertation is organized around the discourse of the American dream; specifically, how the desire for consumption, liberal citizenship and labor in post World War II America produced specific accounts of migration in the pages of La Opinion. Through its publishers, editors and columnists La Opinion performed and celebrated political difference and civic duty to claim a stake in Americanism during the Cold War period.

One thought on “Governor Jerry Brown Eliminates Cash Bail in California in Historic Reform. Opposers of the Bill Say It Introduces New Problems while Bail Industry Panics

  1. Thanks for posting this Sole. I think you very clearly explained this issue and the effect it will have on various elements of our community. I certainly understand it much better.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: