California continues to be ground zero for the fight over money bail in the U.S. The state’s new law abolishing cash bail will be challenged by the bail industry and the voters, over 500,000 of whom have signed a petition to eliminate the new law even as it’s slated to go into effect.
Topo Padilla, a board member of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States, has something at stake in the debate. He notes:
“Three generations here operating this thing and we are going to shutter our doors all because the legislature thinks they have this grand idea of making the tax payers pay for this program rather than it being funded by people putting themselves in the position of needing to bail themselves out of jail.”
California’s new system would use an assessment tool to determine flight risk and danger to society, but as Padilla points out, it’s not working so well where it’s been tried out elsewhere in the country. Says Padilla:
“There are going to be more people incarcerated, there are going to be more preventative detention, and more people that are going to be released by a judge. Some of them are going to have to be on a GPS monitor and are going to be tracked by our government and by law enforcement even prior to a conviction if a conviction does happen.”
It turns out that law enforcement is speaking out against the new law as well – it was scheduled to go into effect in October, 2019, but is likely to be put to a vote directly to Californians. Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said he is against bail reform saying “It’s a bad law. It needs to be changed either by the legislature or by voters.”