At least 30 California counties home to 78 percent of the state's residents have kept COVID-19 emergency bail schedules to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in jails and surrounding communities during the pandemic, according to data reported by superior courts.
The Judicial Council in April adopted a statewide COVID-19 emergency bail schedule that set bail at $0 for most people accused–but not yet tried–of misdemeanors and lower-level felonies. Last month, the council rescinded the emergency measure as California began a phased re-opening and courts restored services shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Judicial Council's action better reflects the current needs of our state, which has different health concerns and restrictions county-to-county based on the threat posed by COVID-19," said council member Justice Marsha Slough. "We urge local courts to continue to use the emergency COVID-19 bail schedule where necessary to protect the health of the community, the courts, and the incarcerated. We are also asking courts to report back by June 20 on whether they plan to keep the COVID-19 emergency bail schedule, or another reduced bail schedule."
Many counties adopted COVID-19 emergency bail schedules with some modifications, including imposing cash bail on those who were initially released on $0 bail and then are rearrested, or eliminating additional offenses from being considered for $0 bail. Some reverted to county bail schedules in place before the pandemic.
The infographic below shows the prevalence of COVID-19 emergency bail schedules both by population and county:
FACT SHEET: California counties with COVID-19 emergency bail schedules (pdf).