California retains cash bail, rejects punishment rollbacks

Posted at 5:26 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 20:26:03-05

Amid national angst over racial inequities in the criminal justice system, California voters have rejected an effort to roll back reforms targeting mass incarceration and reinstate tougher criminal penalties.

But they also overturned a state law that would have ended what critics call a predatory cash bail system.

Analysts said Wednesday that the seeming incongruence does not undermine voters’ recent shift away from get-tough practices.

Rather, the bail change fell victim to an unusual coalition of opponents, leaving supporters scratching their heads on how to proceed.

More than six in 10 voters backed reduced criminal penalties that they endorsed in previous ballot measures.