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A California district attorney has found that more than 70% of criminal suspects released on $0 bail between 2020 and 2021 in his county committed new crimes.
The California Judicial Council in April 2020 implemented the statewide Emergency Bail Schedule, or $0 bail, which supporters say makes the criminal justice system more fair for those who cannot afford to get released.
“When over 70% of the people released under mandated $0 bail policies go on to commit additional crime(s), including violent offenses such as robbery and murder, there is simply no rational public safety-related basis to continue such a practice post-pandemic, especially in light of the increasing violent crime rates across California,” Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in a Monday statement.
The California Judicial Council rescinded its $0 bail order in June 2020, but some counties kept the policy in place. Yolo Count ended its $0 bail policy in June 2021, according to a press release from Reisig’s office.
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In June of this year, Reisig’s office began tracking which suspected offenders released without bail went on to commit new crimes in Yolo County, which includes parts of west Sacramento.
Of the 595 individuals released on $0 bail between 2020 and 2021 in Yolo County, 420 — or 70.6% — were rearrested for new crimes, and 123 — or 20% — were arrested for a violent crime such as murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, carjacking or domestic violence, according to Reisig’s office.
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In one example provided by the DA, an individual released on $0 bail was later charged with murder in Sacramento for a shooting that occurred in July 2021.
Reisig’s findings come amid an ongoing discussion about the elimination of cash bail for offenders and whether such policies help criminal suspects reenter society or embolden suspects to commit new crimes.