OPINION: Prop 25 clogs prisons, wastes money

Produced in collaboration with City College history students

Proposition 25

Prop. 25 replaces money bail with a system based on public safety and the flight risk of the defendant. Canva image

City Times Staff, Editor

The below opinion piece was created in collaboration with students in the history classes of Professor Susan Hasegawa.

Proposition 25 is a referendum on a law (Senate Bill 10) replacing money bail with a system based on public safety and the flight risk of the defendant. It would also limit the amount of time a person would remain in jail before trial for most demeanors to within 12 hours of being placed in jail.

This would not apply to people who are charged with cases like domestic violence, or those who have failed to appear in court more than two times in the past year.

Want to learn more about both sides of Proposition 25?
Visit City Times Guide to Prop 25 here.

For decades, California citizens have been forced to pay out of pocket to obtain freedom before trial. Back in 2018, the California legislature and the governor of the state signed SB 10 to eliminate paid bail and employ processes that would evaluate prisoners for getting released prior to their trials. 

The law was supposed to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2019. However, due to a referendum on SB 10, this law qualified for this ballot. As stipulated by the state constitution, this law was put on hold until voters declared their final say on the matter.

Those against SB 10 state that it eliminates choice for the accused, that the algorithms used would be more biased towards minorities and the financially strained, and make communities less safe. They also mention concerns about the increased strain on the budget, as hundreds of millions of dollars are funneled into enacting these new processes.

Paid bail has been a smack in the face to justice since its inception. It is excessively biased, a “mechanism to divide the privileged from the punished in the earliest phase of a criminal proceeding,” according to an LA Times article.

It forces defendants to choose between jail time or paying a bail company money that they might not have. It clogs our prisons with small-time offenders and wastes millions of dollars in taxpayer’s money. Vote yes on Proposition 25.

 Noah Fithian
Computer Science major

Clarification: Students in the history classes of Professor Susan Hasegawa were required to research and draft an opinion piece related to the election. Those choosing to submit to City Times were granted extra credit points.

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