Social Action / Social Justice Committee Hosts the Documentary, “The Bail Trap”

The Social Action / Social Justice Committee will be screening the film, “The Bail Trap” on July 24th in the Social Hall at 7:00 pm. Afterward, there will be a panel discussion.

Brave New Films says, “The money bail system is broken: private companies achieve exorbitant profits by scavenging off of communities (primarily of color) living in poverty. Low-income Americans are sitting in jails for days, months, and even years for the most minor of infractions simply because they can’t afford to pay high bond amounts. The reality is that the majority of people in jails – over 70% – are there for one simple reason: their income status. This is both morally and legally wrong.”

Reform California says, “Our tradition teaches us, ‘You shall commit no injustice in judgment; you shall not favor a poor person or defer to a great man; you shall judge your fellow with righteousness’. (Leviticus 19:15) Our people have been mistreated by the authorities for thousands of years, and as such, we must recognize the urgency of ensuring that our criminal justice system is fair and equitable. However, California’s legal system currently commits great injustice in judgement; on any given day, approximately 46,000 Californians who are awaiting trial or sentencing are imprisoned, not because they present a danger to society, but because they simply cannot afford bail. This means that while they await their due process, they are separated from their families and unable to go to work. The California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-CA) has joined a broad coalition of human rights and criminal justice reform organizations in support of SB 10: The California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017. SB 10 safely reduces the number of people being held in jail awaiting trial. It ensures that those who are not a threat to public safety or at risk of fleeing are not held simply for their inability to afford bail. The bill would require, except when a person is arrested for specified violent felonies, that a pretrial services agency conduct a risk assessment and prepare a report that makes recommendations on conditions of release for the person pretrial.”

SB-10, the money bail reform act now pending in the California State Senate, is one of the two main focus points in this session’s legislative agenda of the California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The issue impacts the poor and people of color and results in prison overcrowding.