TECHNICAL APPENDIX: Prop 25’s Predicted Impact in San Francisco and Sonoma Counties
Editor’s note: This analysis was published prior to the November 2020 election. In November 2020, California voters defeated Proposition 25, and as a result, SB 10, a 2018 law that would have replaced cash bail in California with risk-based assessments will not go into effect. However, on August 26, 2020, the California Supreme Court upheld Part III of the Court of Appeals Humphrey decision (2018), which requires judges to consider an individual’s ability to pay when setting bail amounts.
In 2018, the California legislature passed Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) to end the practice of cash bail throughout the state. The law enacted other pretrial reforms, including requiring that counties use a validated risk assessment to inform pretrial release decisions, develop pretrial supervision programs, and release defendants unless detention is necessary for public safety or to guarantee appearance at trial.
Implementation of the law was stalled pending Proposition 25, a referendum on the ballot in the November 2020 election. If the referendum had passed and SB 10 was implemented, the law would have significantly changed pretrial practice throughout the state. However, there was little empirical evidence about how these changes to the pretrial system might have affected release rates and jail populations.
Using detailed data from two counties with different histories of pretrial reform — San Francisco and Sonoma — CPL estimated the potential effect of the law on release and detention prior to arraignment.
Select Media Coverage of Prop 25’s Predicted Impact in San Francisco and Sonoma Counties
Associated Press: California Sticks To Cash Bail, Rejects Nation-Leading Move (November 4, 2020)
CNN: In California, voters must choose between cash bail and algorithms (October 31, 2020)
Courthouse News Service: Study Finds People Will Spend Less Time in Jail if California Bans Cash Bail (October 20, 2020)