There is so much misinformation on California’s criminal justice system and the impact that bail, early release programs and sentencing have on our local communities and the victims.
In California, if you are charged with a misdemeanor and have a clean criminal record, you will most likely be out in a matter of hours after being booked. In addition, the vast majority of people charged with non-violent crimes are let go by the jail or by a judge; people that are arrested for more serious crimes may be required to post bail.
The American Civil Liberties Union indicates that the vast majority (87%) of people in jail, pending trial, are there because of “non-financial” reasons. The people who are sitting in jail are there because they have been arrested for more serious crimes, they are a danger to the victim or community or there is a probation, parole, immigration, or other violations of terms and conditions set by the court.
In a 2012 study of the Los Angeles County jail system by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU found that 87 percent of individuals who were sitting in jail, pending trial and were unable to be released on bail were due to “non-financial” holds. In 2016, the Public Policy Institute found that, “California’s jails hold mostly those charged with or convicted of felony offenses (84%).”
As concerned citizens looking to Keep California Safe, it is important to understand who has been sitting in jail and why they are being held, along with the requirements of them being held. These are extremely important aspects needed to identify the problem and to find potential solutions.