SACRAMENTO –Yesterday, the Little Hoover Commission sent a letter to legislators and the Governor outlining their findings pertaining to jail overcrowding problems, bail, and pre-trial services. The Commission also presented suggestions to help alleviate current pressures put on counties and their communities.
“I thank the Commission for studying this very important issue,” said Assemblyman Hagman. “Public safety is a top priority for myself and the legislature as a whole, and I look forward to working with such a reputable organization and my legislative colleagues to appropriately incorporate these valuable recommendations into my related bill, AB 1118.”
AB 1118 currently has the Judicial Council create an advisory statewide bail schedule that would provide judges a guide to consult when setting bail for cases in their counties. As the Little Hoover Commission pointed out in their letter, current bail schedule disparities prevent defendants from posting bail, adding to crowded jails. This in turn forces Sheriffs to release pre-trial defendants without supervision, increasing the risk to public safety. The Commission recognized the overall benefits and need for bail to lessen the burden of overcrowding in jails while increasing such accountability within the system. They specifically recommended the legislature set bail criterion so counties could have a benchmark when setting their own bail schedules. AB 1118 addresses this recommendation by providing guidelines to reference in the creation of schedules, or when setting bail on a case by case basis. AB 1118 also allows counties to retain their autonomy in setting bail schedules. The bill currently awaits committee assignment in the Senate.