In California, bail could be $75 or $10,000 — for the same crime
An inmate stands at his cell door. Photo: Matt York/AP
California allows counties to set their own bail policies, leading to major differences in how misdemeanors are handled across the state. For example, the bail recommended for public intoxication is $75 in Fresno and $10,000 in Mariposa, according to the Guardian.
Why it matters: It's not just California. Bail reform is an issue in several states, and was introduced in a bill by Senators Kamala Harris and Rand Paul. In a New York Times op-ed, the two senators argue that the current system "wastes taxpayer dollars," and "disproportionately harms people from low-income communities and communities of color." While the suggested bail amount "bears little resemblance to the final decision," Bill Sheppard, a Florida attorney, told the Guardian, "it coerces people to plead guilty."