Reform Money Bail in California

Nationally, 1-in-3 people are sitting in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. In California, the median bail amount is $50,000. A person’s ability to get out of jail should not depend on the size of their bank account—but right now freedom is out of reach for too many people because the money bail system punishes people for being poor.

Together, we can change this unjust system. Take action today to fight for #BailReform in California.

Most Californians cannot afford to post bail and so must either stay in jail or pay substantial nonrefundable fees to a bail bond company. These fees are not refunded under any circumstances – even if the court finds that a person is innocent or was wrongfully arrested.

The money bail system preys on low-income families and people of color, who are most often targeted for arrest and incarceration. Whole families suffer, as they take on long-term debt to purchase the safety and freedom of a loved one, and women are hit the hardest. Learn more. 

Help us end this unjust system by supporting the California Money Bail Reform Act, which would safely reduce the number of people held in jail before trial and would prioritize pre-trial services to help people awaiting trial make their court appearances. 


Call your legislator and ask them to vote for the California Money Bail Reform Act (SB 10 and AB 42). 

Find your legislators and their phone numbers here: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

Call Script:

For Assemblymembers:

“Hello, my name is __________________, and I am calling from [city or area].   I strongly support reforming our terrible bail system, which requires people who have been arrested to pay a private company in order to get out of jail and go home, even though they haven’t been convicted of a crime. 

I support AB 42 by Mr. Bonta, which will require that people be screened to see if they are safe to go home and likely to return for trial, without charging them a fee. This system is working in other states and in some California cities already. What’s most important is it’s fair and it’s safe.  No more money bail. Please ask the Assembly Member to vote in support of AB 42.”

For Senators:

“Hello, my name is __________________, and I am calling from [city or area].   I strongly support reforming our terrible bail system, which requires people who have been arrested to pay a private company in order to get out of jail and go home, even though they haven’t been convicted of a crime. 

I support SB 10 by Senator Hertzberg, which will require that people be screened to see if they are safe to go home and likely to return for trial, without charging them a fee. This system is working in other states and in some California cities already. What’s most important is it’s fair and it’s safe.  No more money bail. Please ask the Senator to vote in support of SB 10.”

Take the next step: tweet this call to action and tell your friends to call their legislator and ask them to support #bailreform today.

The California Money Bail Reform Act is co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of California, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, the California Public Defenders Association, Californians for Safety and Justice, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Essie Justice Group, SEIU California, Silicon Valley De-Bug, and Western Center on Law and Poverty.