JustLeadershipUSA Urges Governor Jerry Brown To Veto SB10, Calls On California Legislature Democrats To Educate Themselves On The Injustice Of Pretrial Detention – Statement From Lex Steppling, Lead National Organizer

August 22, 2018

“JustLeadershipUSA opposes SB10 and has worked tirelessly with partners throughout California to urge the State Legislature not to pass the bill. We urge Governor Brown not to sign the bill. Signing into law a bill that only further entrenches racialized harm, ensures that California, the most incarcerated land in the world, will maintain that shameful position. To sign the bill is to  miss a critical opportunity to dismantle the structural racism and socioeconomic discrimination that is so deeply baked into our criminal justice system.

The California State Legislature has passed Senate Bill 10 (primary sponsor, Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys), a dangerous bill that deceives the public about the fundamental point of ending cash bail and will further incarcerate Black and brown Californians. Advocates have made clear to legislators that this proposal will entrench algorithmic risk assessment technology thereby mutating structural race and wealth-based bias. We have experienced this proposal as an adaptation that undermines the momentum of a strong national movement to decarcerate jails and prisons, overhaul the pretrial system and end cash bail. Furthermore, the bill gives law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges ultimate authority to jail people arbitrarily.

That this bill was passed without incorporating meaningful input and that amendments were withheld from the public, reveals that the California State legislature has acted in ways that are neither democratic nor in the best interest of their constituencies.  Still, we are proud that grassroots organizations across the state, civil rights organizations, and the movement to end cash bail – united to mount a fervent opposition.

JLUSA believes that in California and across the country it is possible to end race- and wealth-based jailing of people awaiting trial by ending cash bail without using racist risk assessment technology. JLUSA will continue to fight the unjust pretrial system including cash bail, corrupt law enforcement and judges, and racist and economically biased algorithmic risk assessment technology. Accordingly, pretrial overhauls that are not pointedly calibrated to reinforce the presumption of innocence for all, ensure due process rights, and require a system of individualized hearings, are unlikely to yield fairer trials. To the contrary, they are likely to perpetuate injustice under the cover of so-called reforms that in fact exist in name only. Californians deserve fairer trials that can only happen if the State prioritizes people fighting their cases from home, and not from a cage.”

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