Civil Rights, Digital, Community Groups Raise Serious Concerns About California Proposed Rules for Pretrial Justice

Categories: Criminal Justice, Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shin Inouye, 202.869.0398, inouye@civilrights.org

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Upturn, and a coalition of digital justice, racial justice, civil rights and community-based organizations, are raising serious concerns with Judicial Council of California’s proposed court rules that implement S.B. 10, California’s initiative to end money bail and adopt pretrial risk assessments. The Judicial Council has proposed rules that can worsen racial disparities and allow further incarceration.

In their comments, the groups call for the Committee to substantially modify the rules to meet Constitutional standards, achieve the aims of meaningful pretrial bail reform in California, and ensure critical civil rights protections.

The groups wrote in part, “the text of S.B. 10 is disheartening, particularly in light of the public discussion that preceded its passage. The now-enacted law lacks critical safeguards that were included in earlier versions of the bill, safeguards that community advocates impacted by mass incarceration rightfully saw as necessary. As the Committee develops these rules and future rules, it must revive and mandate these much-needed protections.”

The groups’ comments reflect a set of principles released earlier this year — “The Use of Pretrial ‘Risk Assessments’ Instruments: A Shared Statement of Civil Rights Concerns” — and outlines a series of recommendations to ensure the rights of people awaiting trial are central to the committee’s rulemaking. These recommendations include:

  • Adding new provisions that direct courts to consider the profound limitations of the data on which pretrial risk assessment tools are developed.
  • Adding a new provision regarding the gap between predicted outcomes and legally significant outcomes.
  • Adding a provision directing PAS [Pretrial Assessment Services] or the courts to consider the costs that supervision or jailing impose on defendants and communities.
  • Removing any provisions that imply any connection between pretrial risk assessment scores and detention.
  • Adding a rule regarding subsequent use of pretrial risk assessment information.

View the full comment here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

Upturn promotes equity and justice in the design, governance, and use of digital technology. Our research and advocacy combines technical fluency and creative policy thinking to confront patterns of inequity, especially those rooted in race and poverty. Upturn is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC.