We can win bail reform in CA this year — here’s how

February, 20, 2018

"A defendant may not be imprisoned solely due to poverty."1

These are the words of a groundbreaking ruling last month in California’s court of appeals, after Kenneth Humphrey was imprisoned for more than 250 days when he couldn’t pay his $350,000 bail for allegedly stealing $5 and a bottle of cologne.  

Kenneth’s story is just one of thousands of examples of how California’s racist money bail system functions — and it’s why Bend the Arc leaders are delivering our petition demanding money bail reform to key State Assembly Members this month.

With the courts, the Governor, and California’s Chief Justice on our side, we have a real chance at passing groundbreaking money bail reform in the legislature this year.

Over 600 Jews have already signed — will you add your name to help us reach our goal of 1,000 signatures when we deliver the petition?

Here’s why Bend the Arc volunteers across California have been in this fight for more than a year:

Money bail violates our Jewish values.

An unequal system of justice is ruining lives, like Kenneth’s. Our Jewish values tell us that when a law is unjust, when it perpetuates racism, and when it denies humans their inherent dignity, it’s our responsibility to change it.

Our contribution as Jews to this effort is unique and strategic.

Legislators and partners have told us time and again: we didn’t know the Jewish community cared about criminal justice reform issues.

When we bring the Jewish community to this fight, we show our state that there’s a broad base of constituents who demand money bail reform.

We’re part of a national criminal justice revolution.

California’s fight for money bail reform is igniting a movement across the country.

With local reform efforts happening from North Carolina to New York, and a federal bill with bipartisan support, we’re leading the way to fight President Trump’s and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ regressive law and order agenda.

To radically change our criminal justice system, we need everyone in the Jewish community to add their voice to our moral outcry. I hope you can be one of those voices.

Help us reach 1,000 signatures: add your name to our petition for bail reform in California before we deliver it this month.

PS: Need a refresher on why money bail reform is the pressing criminal justice issue of our time? Read 10 things you need to know about money bail and then join the fight by signing our petition.

1. LA Times, He stole $5 and a bottle of cologne. His bail was set at $350,000