Bail is an old concept that allows individuals accused of a crime to avoid the pretrial punishment of rotting in a cage. The idea is that an individual hands over a substantial stake (along with travel documents such as passports) that will be returned when they show up for their trial date. Simple enough, right? Not so much. Since bail is set by bureaucrats of the court, a court that wants to punish somebody who hasn’t yet been found guilty of a crime can do so by setting a suspect’s bail absurdly high. The government of California decided that this practice was unfair and chose to eradicate it. However, as is always the case with government, there’s a catch:
California will end the cash bail system in a sweeping reform for the state. Rather than requiring defendants to pay in order to be released before trial, their release will hinge on an assessment of their risk to public safety.
“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.
By rich and poor being treated fairly, Governor Brown means they will all have their fate solely in the hands of a board of bureaucrats. In other words, nothing has changed. Now, instead of setting bail absurdly high, bureaucrats of the court merely need to claim that an individual is too dangerous to be allowed to roam free if they want to punish them before their trail.