The passing of the California Proposition 47 initiative has dealt a significant blow to the bail bonds industry. The initiative reduces the “non-serious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from felonies to misdemeanors. California bails bondmen are worried that the initiative will cripple an already precarious industry. The problem, at least from the perspective of bail bondsmen, is that their business will be cut in half with the reclassification of low-level offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. This means a decline in the number of offenders who see the inside of a jail cell and the need to post bail.
A representative of Atlantis Bail Bonds in Sacramento, confirms that the bill has already initiated some serious effects on business. Since the enactment of Prop. 45, business at Atlantis Bail Bonds has plummeted by 37 percent in only 1 month.
Proposition 47 was pushed by San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascon, and San Diego Police Chief, William Lansdowne. In an effort to reduce overcrowding in California’s adult prisons and reduce cost. The initiative works as follows: when a person commits a crime that falls under the new classification, instead of going to jail the person is simply cited and released.
Proponents of the bill believe it makes a powerful rehabilitative statement that says California law enforcement is concerned with rehabilitation and not incarceration for certain crimes. However many in the bail bondsmen industry believe the proposition has reduced the state’s ability to hold criminals accountable for their crimes, and have public safety concerns.
Bails bondsmen aren’t the only ones perturbed by the new initiative. Police Chief Christopher Boyd of Citrus Heights who campaigned against Proposition 47 as an initiative that would increases crime, is also worried about the types of criminals that will be released back into the general population as a result of the initiative. He is currently briefing his officers on how to comply with the law.
Currently Prop. 47 has released 50 inmates from Sacramento County. More inmates are expected to be released in the coming months as petitions for sentence reductions come through the courts.
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