As a retired Fresno County employee of many years, I saw firsthand how the money bail system is failing our community and taking an unjust toll on families.
When people cannot afford bail, they go to jail, lose their jobs and have their families torn apart – even when they are innocent.
This system doesn’t put public safety first; instead it puts money first. Wealthy defendants who pose a threat to public safety but can afford to post bail can be released. Poor defendants who pose no threat to public safety remain locked up, because they can’t afford to post bail.
There is a better way. Several states and California counties provide judges the option for supervised release. People can receive the services that help them make their court dates – from mental health services to electronic monitoring. It also address the systemic bias in our justice system that harms people of color.
I urge our legislators to reform our money bail system system with Senate Bill 10.
Jennifer Jensen, Fresno