SAN JOSE, Calif. - Santa Clara County is on track to be the first jurisdiction in the state to implement bail reform for low-level offenders awaiting trial. The program has been over two years in the making, initiated by community groups with input from a wide range of interested parties. The county's Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday morning to proceed with a number of steps toward implementation, including the creation of a community bail fund.
Supervisor Cindy Chavez says she is hopeful the new bail program can be operational by spring of 2018.
About 2,400 people are in pre-trial custody at the Santa Clara County Jail at any one time. It's estimated between 300 and 500 of them could be eligible for the revised program, bypassing commercial bail bond services. The owner of Bad Boys Bail Bonds in San Jose, Jeff Stanley, told ABC7 News that he's worried that individuals charged with a range of crimes could be released into the community. Supervisor Chavez says in other parts of the country where similar programs have been implemented there is a 99.9 percent success rate that participants show up for their court appearances.
The county now will seek foundations and community organizations to determine who might be willing to help create a bail fund.
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