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News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

California state lawmakers to make bail reform a top priority

by Austin Cross and A Martínez | Take Two®

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An immate uses a mirror to look outside his cell at the Los Angeles Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, 19 May 2004. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

If you get arrested and held in jail for a crime, a judge will probably set bail. Pay it, and you will be released. It's a centuries-old process.

Now some human rights groups say the bond system is unfair because it penalizes the poor. Inmates arrested for even minor offenses can wind up spending months behind bars because they can't afford to pay. These absences can cause a ripple in the communities they leave behind.

In August, President Obama brought in civil rights lawyers to try to reform the practice on the national level. 

On Monday,  Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Sen. Bob Hertzberg signaled their intention to tackle the issue head-on. 

Phil Telfeyan is the executive director for Equal Justice Under Law in Washington DC, an organization that provides legal services to those in need. 

Press the blue play button above to hear the full conversation. 

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