Proposition 25, Replace Money Bail: Yes

This is a tough one. Neither side is entirely convincing, but unlike many other propositions, it is the “no” side that’s trying to buy the vote.

Proposition 25 puts to a popular vote SB 10, a law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor to replace the bail system with a system of risk assessment. This was seen as a way to address racism in the existing system. And make no mistake, racism exists in the criminal justice system.

SB 10 requires courts to establish pretrial assessment divisions. The tools that these organizations would use would be, in theory, scientifically accurate.These new organizations could cost, between the state and the local levels, some hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The thing is, we have plenty of evidence that scientific systems can also be racist. Their algorithms are representative of who develops them, and in tech, diversity is a problem. I’m not convinced that these “scientific” systems will be colorblind.

That said, there are two issues on the “no” side that override the unknowns:

  • The existing bail system we already know is racist.
  • The “no” side is being supported by the bail industry.

Once again, follow the money.

That the “no” side is also supported by the California Republican party and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association essentially cements the conclusion that this is the wrong side to support.

The system we’re headed for here truly is the unknown, and there will be bumps along the way — and by “bumps” I mean the possibility of mistakes being made that could create future crime victims. To be clear, no one advocating this wants that to happen. But supporting this idea is not the equivalent of being “soft on crime,” and the company the “no” side keeps make a Yes choice here clear. Not easy, and rather reluctant, but still clear.