Bail Schedule Disparities in California Counties


For years the Pretrial Justice Institute has pointed to the use of bail schedules as not only contradicting U.S. Supreme Court law, but also pointing to their irrational nature. An example of this comes from a report out of California[1] that compares bond amounts between 10 different counties for two different offense charges. The graph below shows that an individual arrested for possession of a controlled substance in Fresno or Sacramento will likely receive a bond amount of $5,000 according to the county bail schedules. On the other hand, in places like San Bernardino and Tulare the presumptive bail would be 5 times that of Fresno or Sacramento at $25,000.

It is important to note that Fresno and Tulare counties are neighboring counties.  If someone is arrested for check fraud in Tulare their bail would be ten times more than the bail amount in Fresno County.  This sample of 10 popular counties in California is just one example of the huge discrepancy and arbitrary nature of bail schedules.

California Bail Schedule Disparities

[1] Hopper, A., Dooley-Sammuli, M., & Evens, K. Public Safety Realignment: California at a Crossroads. ACLU of California, March 2012.


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