A growing national discussion about inequities in the criminal justice system spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement has focused new attention on Proposition 25, a referendum on the November ballot to decide whether California’s money bail system is unjust and should be replaced.

The bail industry is seeking to overturn a 2018 state law that replaces the current cash bail system with one allowing pretrial release from jail based on a determination of public safety or a defendant’s flight risk. The measure also restricts pretrial detention for most misdemeanors.

The referendum vote comes more than two years after a bitter legislative fight that pitted the multibillion-dollar bail industry, criminal defense attorneys and some civil liberties advocates against Democratic leaders, including then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the law saying it will make sure “rich and poor alike are treated fairly.”

The bail industry has argued the law would result in the release of violent criminals to the streets and pose an existential threat to its thousands of businesses.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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