SF District Attorney Announces New Pre-Trial Release, Bail Policies; Promises to Keep Bail ‘Limited’

By The Vanguard Staff

SAN FRANICISCO, CA – San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced a new “pre-trial release and detention” policy Wednesday, including a promise to require cash bail only in “limited” misdemeanor cases.

“The policy ensures that people who are incarcerated pre-trial will not be determined by their wealth. Pre-trial detention will be sought for felony offenses when less restrictive measures have proven ineffective to protect victims and public safety,” the DA Office declared in a press statement.

“Cash bail unfairly penalizes those with less financial means and disproportionately affects defendants of color,” said DA Jenkins, adding, “Protecting victims and ensuring public safety are my top priorities. We will not shy away from holding offenders accountable, but we will not perpetuate further injustice and inequities.”

Jenkins cited the San Francisco Office of Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Financial Justice Project that said its research has shown cash bail “strips millions of dollars from low-wealth communities, and has disproportionately impacted communities of color, without making our communities safer.”  

The California Supreme Court in 2021 also ruled cash bail is unconstitutional for accused who do not have the means to afford it, and courts must consider ability to pay when setting bail.

In the prepared statement, the DA said it would “evaluate every pre-trial release decision on an individualized basis considering victim safety, the protection of the public, the seriousness of the offense charged, any previous criminal record of the defendant, and the probability of the defendant’s appearance in court.  Public safety and the safety of the victim shall be the primary considerations.”

The SF DA also said it would request pre-trial detention only in felony cases involving “violence on another person, sexual assault, threat of great bodily harm, unreasonable to risk to victim or public safety, repeated criminal conduct that poses risk to public safety, repeated failures to abide by less restrictive alternatives to jail and repeated failures to appear in court as promised.”

The DA’s Office added it would “consider less restrictive alternatives,” including electronic monitoring, protective orders and home detention.

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