In 2018, the Legislature approved Senate Bill 10, a measure that fundamentally transformed the bail system in California. SB 10 shifted decisions regarding who to release from jail (prior to trial) based on the person’s ability to pay (post bail), to a model that assesses flight and public safety risks. As enacted, bail reform avoids imposing a direct mandate on individual counties, but instead gives the local courts authority to contract with counties (probation departments) to provide pretrial assessment and supervision services. There will be other county criminal justice system impacts associated with the changes to the pretrial detention system, including those affecting sheriff department, district attorney, and public defender operations and workload. The bail reform measure specifies an annual process for identifying new costs associated with the new pretrial system and funding those costs through the state budget process.
Opponents of SB 10 have secured sufficient signatures to place a repeal before voters in November 2020. As a result of the referendum qualifying, implementation of SB 10 has been placed on hold, and the Legislature cannot amend its provisions. In response to the measure qualifying, the Judicial Council has suspended implementation of the measure, including adoption of related California Rules of Court.