One of DA Boudin’s first actions upon taking office was to end the DA’s office’s practice of asking for money bail. The concept of money bail is simple: when someone is arrested on charges, a judge can set an amount that a person can pay (often through a bail bond agency) as collateral to get out of jail. If the person doesn’t show up to court, that person loses the money. This system means that people with money can “buy” their way out of jail, no matter what their charges, while people without enough money are stuck in jail simply because they cannot afford to buy their freedom. This system is not only unfair but also does not protect public safety. After all, someone’s financial status has no connection to their likelihood of coming back to court or of committing another crime.
DA Boudin believes that no one should be in jail simply because they are too poor to post bail to get out. Under DA Boudin’s policy, if someone poses a serious public safety risk, the District Attorney’s office will ask that the person remain in jail while waiting for the case to resolve or go to trial. But everyone who does not pose a serious public safety risk should be free from jail while their case is pending—sometimes with conditions like electronic monitoring, GPS, or drug testing, depending on the individual circumstances. This makes sure we have a system that keeps us all safe—and doesn’t hold people in jail because of their poverty.
DA Boudin’s policy on ending cash bail in San Francisco was widely heralded as the most progressive bail policy in the nation. It plays an important step towards ending the criminalization of poverty and stopping mass incarceration.”