SACRAMENTO, Calif — Proposition 25 would have made California the first state to end cash bail by allowing each county to use an algorithm to assess a person’s flight risk or likelihood of reoffending while awaiting trial.
Supporters pitched the referendum as the Legislature’s best plan for advancing racial justice by upending a system that preys on communities of color and the poor for profit.
But opponents, including the bail industry fighting for its survival and law enforcement groups, argued the existing system could — and should — be reformed. They were joined by a small but vocal number of civil rights advocates who opposed or refused to endorse the measure.
Voters agreed. The unofficial count had Prop. 25 defeated, 55%-44%, leaving more work ahead for lawmakers and racial justice advocates to broker future changes.
“What I think they did say that this was not well thought out and needed work,” said John Lovell, a longtime lobbyist who has worked for law enforcement groups in Sacramento. “I think you’ll find general consensus that yeah, something needs to be done about bail schedules. But that fundamentally, the notion of having some incentive for someone to return for trial, is a sound notion.
“Now, is that exclusively money? Perhaps yes, perhaps no.”
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