In a recent CALmatters column, Dan Walters discusses an issue that gained traction in last year’s legislative cycle, but may finally come to fruition in 2018: criminal bail reform.

As Walters explains, legislators have been on a reformative tear in recent years, and voter initiatives like Proposition 47 and Proposition 57 helped fuel the drive for changes within the system.

Walters writes that these new policies have shown mixed results and that some reports present conflicting evidence on their efficacy.

However, he notes, one piece of evidence presented clearly by the data is that many of California’s criminals revert to crime after being released from incarceration.

Walters theorizes that this trend motivates reformers to push for bail reform.

What would this reform look like?

According to proponents, those arrested would no longer have to pay cash or post bond to be released from jail awaiting trial. Instead, they would be evaluated for release by a local agency on a case-by-case basis. In theory, this would prevent those who may have committed a lesser crime, but simply cannot afford their bail, from occupying valuable space in our already-overcrowded jails.

While it is uncertain if the bail reform proposal will meet a similar fate to last year’s effort, it is clear that it will be a more prominent issue for lawmakers in 2018.

To read Walters’ full take, click here: The crime debate continues, and bail reform will be next


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