By Tanya Decendario
LOS ANGELES – District Attorney George Gascón is determined to end the unjust money bail system in Los Angeles County – critics argue the money bail system allows wealthy individuals to acquire their freedom financially while no-risk folks are sent to jail because of their lack of financial resources.
In Gascón’s first day of office, he instructed his fellow deputy district attorney to cease money bail requirements for misdemeanor, non-violent, and non-serious felony cases, maintaining the money bail is unnecessary and allows wealthy individuals to buy their independence.
“Money bail is as unjust as it is unsafe. It allows wealthy people who are dangerous to purchase their freedom while those without means who pose no risk to public safety languish in jail awaiting trial,” said Gascón.
He insists there is little evidence to support the idea of cash bail encouraging individuals to reappear in court. Instead, he claims “There is evidence that the inability for people to obtain money for bail leads to them losing their jobs, homes and access to treatment while separating them from their children.”
DA Gascón asserts the unfortunate reality of the cash bail system, as it contributes to destroying families and weakening the community.
“There is no objective rationale for caging people who pose no danger to our community and have not been found guilty of a crime because they do not have the means to buy their freedom.” he said, noting that “Pretrial detention has been shown to pressure many to plead guilty to crimes simply to secure their release. That is an injustice of epic proportions that we must cure here in Los Angeles.”
DA Gascón continues to move ahead on the next phase of bail reform even as he monitors the Humphrey case in the California Supreme Court, which lays a legal groundwork for the future of bail reform in California.
Tanya Decendario is a third-year student studying Legal Studies at UC Berkeley. She is originally from Sonoma, CA but currently resides in Albany, CA.
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