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News items related to bail industry

July Newsletter: Advancing Alternatives to Incarceration

In Fresno, a community-based approach to pretrial reform; Expert helps Cameo House strengthen its women-centered approach; A new approach for juvenile facilities in California.

Little Hoover Commission recommends use of risk/needs assessment in jails

Realignment has elevated concern regarding the intersection of the bail industry and California’s un-sentenced jail population. Many advocates have expressed concern that a significant number of this un-sentenced population remains confined to local county jails solely due to their inability to meet the monetary obligations of their set bail.   The concerns of a diverse group of stakeholders lead the Little Hoover Commission to examine the issue in late 2012.

Commercial bail vs. Pretrial services

As you walk down Bryant Street in San Francisco, there are many neon-lit signs advertising for available bail services increasing as you move closer to the Hall of Justice.  San Francisco is the birthplace of the bail industry, but in recent years, the county has begun to explore pretrial services that are not driven by commercial enterprise.

Kate McCracken presenting at the SF Public Defenders Justice Summit 2013

On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, the San Francisco Public Defender's Office is hosting its annual Justice Summit for 2013, celebrating 50 years of Gideon

Unnecessary incarceration: What are the consequences?
Have you ever been in a room of highly educated individuals discussing sentencing and bail reform in California?  I was just recently.  On Tuesday November 27, 2012 I attended the Little Hoover Commission hearing as an expert witness.  The conversation was extremely dynamic and thought provoking with significant dialogue on the fairness and constitutionality of the uniform bail industry in California.  Despite the varying intricacies discussed there was a glaring omission: the collateral…
Little Hoover Commission discusses need for sentencing reform
Today, the Little Hoover Commission (LHC) hosted a public hearing on bail and sentencing reform in the State Capitol.  LHC is an independent state oversight agency created in 1962 to investigate state government operations and promote efficiency, economy and improved service. As part of an ongoing assessment of public safety in California following AB 109 criminal justice realignment in October 2011, the LHC heard testimony regarding the monetary bail system, alternatives to bail, jail…
Jails, poorhouses, and debtor's prisons
CJCJ staff writer Selena Teji recently posted a blog called "Overcrowded jails, the bail industry, and pretrial alternatives ."  Among other things she notes that many are in jail "simply because they cannot afford to post bail." In short, it's a place for the poor. A couple of years ago I posted an article called "From Poorhouses to Jails, Same Function, Different Time " I began by referring to a book by David Wagner called The Poorhouse: America's Forgotten Institution .  In his book one…
Overcrowded jails, the bail industry, and pretrial alternatives
This month is the Justice Policy Institute (JPI)'s Bail Reform Month . Their national public education campaign provides research showing that "money bail is a failed policy that does not protect public safety" and leads to unnecessary incarceration in local jails. If you have been following criminal justice realignment in California, this issue is of foremost importance. In California, approximately 71% of the jail population is unsentenced. Many of the detainees are in detention simply…
Legislation to provide more opportunities for unsentenced detainees
In California, local county jail bed space is not always for the guilty.  Approximately 50,000 un-sentenced individuals are confined to the state's county jails, awaiting their time before a judge.  A majority of these individuals are confined to local jails because they are not able to post bail .  This contributes to the 71% state average of un-sentenced individuals in county jails.  These individuals have not necessarily been deemed a flight-risk or a danger to society; they just lack the…
Monterey County judges raise bail rates, already among highest in state
Monterey County judges raise bail rates, already among highest in state Monterey Herald, June 16, 2012
Who's crowding California's jails
Who's crowding California's jails KPCC, May 15, 2012
Build bigger jails or invest in community-based alternatives?
In 2010, 71 percent of California's jail population were those offenders who were unsentenced and awaiting resolution of their cases.  This figure not only exceeds the pretrial detainee national average, but also represents a major shift away from the traditional use of jails where inmates are detained as a form of punishment.  However, many of these pretrial detainees are not being held because they have been determined to be a danger to society or represent a flight risk. Rather, they remain…
The Commercial Bail Industry: Profit or Public Safety?
The Commercial Bail Industry: Profit or Public Safety?
Could bail reform bail out California's overcrowded jails?
Could bail reform bail out California's overcrowded jails? KALW radio, April 30, 2012
CJCJ supports SB 1180: Pretrial release on own recognizance
Yesterday, the California Senate Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 to pass Senate Bill 1180 (Hancock) for a floor vote.  This bill is a significant piece of legislation that will have a significant impact on the high rates of un-sentenced individuals held in county jails.  If the bill continues to proceed in the legislative arc and is signed by the Governor, California counties would have enhanced incentives to utilize best practice risk-assessment tools for determining whether an accused…
CA Policy: The corporate interest
Kathy Lynch is the legislative advocate for two California bail agent associations: the California Bail Agents Association (CBAA ); and Golden State Bail Agents Association (GSBAA ).  She founded Lynch & Associates in 1985. These two groups explicitly lobby for increases in the fee detainees must pay for bail-posting services.  In California, the Department of Insurance regulates bail premiums (the amount of money paid to a bail bondsman for their services), which are set as a percentage…

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