In the last few years, the topic of cash bail has come under renewed scrutiny. The practice inordinately affects the poor and communities of color. Luckily, the city of San Francisco has taken a huge step towards reform.
CBS News reports that recently elected District Attorney Chesa Boudin will no longer require cash bail to ensure a defendant’s release pretrial. Instead, prosecutors will utilize a “risk-based system” that will determine how likely a defendant is to flee and the threat they pose to the public’s safety.
Bail reform was one of the main platforms Boudin ran on and it’s an encouraging sign that he’s seen it through only three weeks into the job. Boudin said in a statement, “From this point forward, pretrial detention will be based on public safety, not on wealth.” Cash bail requirements have often had disparities in San Francisco with black defendants on average paying $120 per year for release while white defendants would only pay $10.
San Francisco’s police union isn’t pleased with the news because I mean, of course, they aren’t. Tony Montoya, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association has said:
“Mr. Boudin is in the process of building the largest criminal justice revolving door imaginable and San Franciscans will pay a heavy price for it. Relying solely on an arbitrary math equation regarding who remains in custody and who gets out early will endanger residents and police officers but it will sure make career criminals and gang members happy.
Ah yes, nothing like some good old fear-mongering from the police. If we don’t give additional punishment to people for being poor and/or black, then how is our society going to stand, folks?