Action Alert: Stop SB 504!
SB 504, a bill that will make our communities less safe, will be voted on soon by the House of Representatives. SB 504 would require judges to impose cash bail for every felony offense, even as those accused are entitled to the presumption of innocence. SB 504 will force poor people to suffer in jails, while those with resources – charged with the exact same offenses – can purchase their release. SB 504 would also significantly limit judicial authority to refer persons held pretrial to critical programs and services that are proven to reduce recidivism unless they post monetary bond.
If SB 504 passes, jails that are already over-populated will be filled with even more people, taxpayer dollars will be wasted, bail bond companies will enjoy a windfall of profits, and racial and wealth disparities in the state’s criminal legal systems will worsen.
Please contact your state representative and urge them to vote NO on SB 504. You can find our script and talking points below. Click here to send an email, make a phone call, and share this action alert on social media to help stop this costly and dangerous bill.
“Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent of [REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME]. I’m calling to ask my representative to vote NO on Senate Bill 504, which will make our communities less safe, force burdensome costs on local governments, and punish poor people. Pre-trial release and access to treatment and services should never be about financial resources. SB 504 would keep many people from accessing treatment and services through pretrial diversion and even accountability courts, which are proven to promote public safety. SB 504 dangerously expands wealth-based detention even though studies have proven cash bail has no impact on whether a person will reoffend while on bond or fail to appear in court. Please vote NO on this harmful and discriminatory piece of legislation. Thank you.”
Other Talking Points:
- SB 504 will ultimately undermine public safety by limiting access to critical treatment and services provided through judicially ordered pretrial diversion programs and accountability courts.
- SB 504 will force burdensome costs on cities and counties, which should not be forced to spend potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars jailing people unnecessarily.
- SB 504 criminalizes poverty because many poor people will be forced to stay in jail simply because they cannot pay for release, while others with money who are similarly charged walk free.
- SB 504 perpetuates profiteering because the bail bond industry will enjoy increased profits when judges are forced to impose financial conditions on additional offenses.
- SB 504 compromises public safety because people who can return to their jobs, families, and communities are less likely to be rearrested.
- SB 504 denies the presumption of innocence because bail only impacts people who have not been convicted of a crime and therefore should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.
- SB 504 will have racially-biased implementation because cash bail disproportionately punishes Black and Brown people – communities that disproportionately have less access to wealth as a result of systemic racism and generations of oppression and exploitation.
- SB 504 will also cause disproportionately harsher outcomes for Black and Brown incarcerated people because people who are detained pretrial are more likely to be sentenced to prison and for longer terms.