ACLU Comment on Newly Released Report on Pretrial Detention Reform in California

SACRAMENTO—Today, The Pretrial Detention Reform Work Group, a group of 11 California judges and one court executive appointed by California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, released their much-anticipated report on pretrial detention practices in California. The Work Group’s report includes a series of recommendations to overhaul California’s fraught pretrial system.

In response to their recommendations, Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Director with the American Civil Liberties Union of California, had this to say:

“We are very encouraged by the Work Group’s findings and recommendations, which are squarely in line with pending state legislation (SB 10) and our shared American values of fairness, justice, and equity.

Originally intended to ensure court appearances and public safety, our pretrial system has devolved into a two-tiered system of justice that places an illogical and draconian emphasis on individual wealth – not flight or safety risk – to make pretrial release determinations. The status quo has had a devastating impact on low-income communities and people of color in California without regard to public safety or helping ensure court appearances.

As momentum for reforms grows nationwide, now is the perfect time for California to act. We look forward to working with all three branches of California’s government to ensure that all – not just the wealthy – have access to justice.”

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