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California is definitely leading the charge for the country in regard to the policy that works for all and not just some. Proposition 25 is a referendum on the law to replace the state’s cash bail system with risk assessments instead.

Two years ago, California would have become the first state to eliminate cash bail for jailed suspects awaiting trial. The law was challenged so it hasn’t taken effect.

It’s simple; A “Yes” vote on Prop 25 would get rid of the bail system as we know it today and allow new state law to go into effect. Under SB 10, which would be a new law, a judge would decide if someone accused of a serious crime should be released or kept behind bars in county jails depending on public safety and a flight risk.

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Michael Mendoza of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition has taken a personal interest in eliminating cash bail. “I know what it’s like to be arrested for a crime and not be able to bail out because I couldn’t afford to,” Mendoza said. “And for me, at the age of 15, to experience something like that was very unjust.”

This story is far too familiar to so many black and brown men not only in California. But across the country. The cash bail system has kept thousands in jail because bail is too high, and oftentimes inmates not having the finances to cover the cost. 

There are some who oppose the proposition. Believing that more individuals would be incarcerated as a result. “It erodes the concept of innocent until proven guilty,” said Betty Williams, president of NAACP Greater Sacramento. “It uses past data of historically criminalized groups like Black and Brown people It’s done by automation, not an individual assessment where people can talk to you and get more detailed information. So that’s a recipe for gaining more incarceration.”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and ultimately who will be affected the most. We will continue updates on this as we draw closer to Election Day.