News

Reform groups oppose how California eliminated cash bail

This week California became the first U.S. state to officially end cash bail.

But some groups pushing for that reform — among them the ACLU and Human Rights Watch — wound up opposing the final bill.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered Udi Ofer, deputy national political director of the ACLU and the director of the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice, explained the group’s objections:

“[T]he problem that we have with the law is that it replaces this current system with another system that could be even worse, lead to an increase in pretrial detention and that gives way too much power to judges and to prosecutors without unnecessary oversight.

So the new law passed in California creates broad new categories of people who will now be presumed to be subjected to pretrial incarceration – so for example, anyone arrested and charged with a robbery or any felony where there was just a threat of violence even if no actual violence took place.

You know, there’s a whole industry out there of people who are creating these essentially algorithms that take a bunch of factors into consideration and then pop out a number that tells law enforcement or a judge what risk you are – so an algorithm that would take into consideration past arrests even if there hasn’t been a conviction. We know that communities of color are over-policed and come in contact with the criminal justice system much more frequently. If you now build an algorithm that gives you a worse score on a risk assessment because you have been arrested before, then that perpetuates racial bias in the criminal justice system.”

Ofer said the ACLU would prefer to see evidence of  things like actually skipping court be the sort of thing that leads to pre-trial detention rather than the product of an algorithm.

The ACLU of California’s full statement on the legislation can be read here.

 

Check Also

New UNC student survey gives insight into concerns, safety measures for return to campus

A new survey of UNC-Chapel Hill students shows ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis backs legislation that would declare a widespread class of toxic [...]

Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, was scheduled to be executed today at the Federal Correctional Institute in Te [...]

NC State evaluators warn, however, of basic problems in the program's structure Buoyed by a fav [...]

Julia Pimentel Gudiel came to North Carolina from Guatemala for her children. While her four kids st [...]

The post The GOP’s Back-in-Class or Bust express appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

CHAPEL HILL – Several of my White friends and colleagues have asked me recently what changes are req [...]

For the past month, there has been much said about the current racial climate in America. The eyes o [...]

If ever there was a year in which it is a good thing to be past the midway point, 2020 would appear [...]