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Weighing the stakes between public safety and punishing the poor with state bail reform

A man walks by a bail bonds store on October 20, 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania.
A man walks by a bail bonds store on October 20, 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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A bill to reform the way the state administers bail bonds making it’s way to Sacramento this week.

As reported by Bay Area News Group, AB 42 would enable people to be released at no cost while waiting for trial. The bill will be heard Tuesday before California’s State Assembly Committee on Public Safety. Under the proposed legislation, judges would be able to decide whether individuals would need to be held until their court date.

The bill’s author, Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), argues that high bail fees punish those who cannot afford to be released. But opponents say this bail reform may not keep serious offenders away from the public. Is this the right reform for California’s bail system?


Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), California assemblyman representing District 18; he authored AB 42

Eric Siddall, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney; vice president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, a collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for Los Angeles County

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