JLA Statement: LA Superior Court's New Bail Announcement
JusticeLA is cautiously celebrating Tuesday’s announcement from Los Angeles County Superior Court. On October 1, 2023, LA County will implement new misdemeanor and felony bail schedules that eliminate pre-arraignment money bail for many sections of the penal code. Notably, money-bail is still a factor for various charges, demonstrating that the Superior Court still needs to come a long way in understanding the consequences of wealth-based detention and the drivers of mass incarceration.
True adherence to the October 2023 bail schedules may result in a measurable decrease in pretrial detention as a number of charges require release prior to arraignment. Right now, nearly 50% of people in LA County jails are considered pretrial and even a single day in pretrial detention has immense consequences for an individual and their community. Reducing and eliminating pretrial detention must be a pillar of LA County’s steps towards “Care First.”
We commend the work of our coalition partners, Civil Rights Corps, Public Justice, and the plaintiffs in Urquidi v. City of Los Angeles, whose stories and advocacy helped bring to light the injustice and unconstitutionality of money bail.
Going forward, the coalition remains wary about the impact the new bail schedules will have on pretrial due process and the reliance on risk assessment tools and electronic monitoring. Risk assessment tools are inherently discriminatory and their use in determining someone’s freedom duplicates the structural racism of the criminal legal system. Similarly, electronic monitoring is disproportionately used as a carceral condition of pretrial release for Black and Latinx communities in Los Angeles. The path to meaningful pretrial freedom includes eliminating risk assessments and electronic monitoring.
Learn more about JusticeLA’s evidence-based pretrial vision here.