California ending controversial 'zero bail' policy that led to quick release of suspects

A state rule that allowed people who were arrested for minor offenses to be quickly released without paying any bail has been rescinded.
A state rule that allowed people who were arrested for minor offenses to be quickly released without paying any bail has been rescinded.

In early April, the California Judicial Council established a new policy setting bail at zero for most misdemeanor and low-level felonies to keep the jail population lower during the coronavirus crisis.

The move led to some complaints from police agencies. There were instances of suspects committing crimes, getting arrested and released and then committing additional crimes in the very same day.

In May, Glendora police offered up an extreme example of the consequences of the policy: A man was arrested and released without bail three times in the same day for trying to steal cars and other property.

Police said they had no choice but to keep releasing him after the arrests because of the state policy.

California sets zero bail policy for most misdemeanors
EMBED More News Videos

California's Judicial Council has begun moving toward setting bail at zero for most misdemeanor and lower-level felonies in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus in jails statewide by reducing the number of inmates.



The Judicial Council of California voted this week 17-2 to end the "zero dollar bail" schedule on June 20.

The Judicial Council says zero-dollar bail could be re-instated if health conditions worsen or change.

The zero-bail policy was established as California jails and prisons cope with outbreaks of coronavirus among the inmate population.

In places like the Terminal Island federal facility in San Pedro, there have been multiple inmate deaths and hundreds of cases among inmates and staff.

'None of us want to die in here': Chino prison inmates speak about COVID-19 fears
EMBED More News Videos

In California's crowded prisons and jails, the threat of the rapidly spreading coronavirus induces a sense of fear and helplessness.

Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.