Prop 25: Bail Reform

Prop 25 removes cash bail and lets judges decide if suspects are held or not before trial.

Watch “Prop 25 in a Minute: Bail Reform” to understand what a yes or no vote on this proposition means. ​Click the CC button for Spanish subtitles. 

For a quick look at all the props, here’s a printable guide in English and in Spanish.


A referendum on whether to replace cash bail with risk assessments for suspects awaiting trial.


The bail bond industry wants voters to overturn a 2018 state law that would make California the first state to eliminate cash bail.

Vote Yes

Eliminate cash bail and let judges decide whether suspects should be held in jail or freed pending trial.

Vote No

Repeal Senate Bill 10 of 2018, which would have eliminated cash bail for detained suspects awaiting trial.

The fairness argument against cash bail is that it keeps people in jail based more on their financial resources than on the risk of freeing them to await trial. But bail has been a time-tested way of ensuring suspects show up for trial, and judges can adjust the amount depending on whether the defendant is rich or poor.

trade association for bail bond businesses, which earn a premium by advancing bail money, organized Californians Against the Reckless Bail Scheme to argue that their service helps keep communities safe. By petitioning for a referendum, they put the elimination of cash bail on hold.

The Yes on 25 advocates, including many Democratic Party officials, say California spends about $5 million a day detaining people who have not been convicted of any crime but can’t afford bail. The bail companies demand a high nonrefundable premium, generally 10%, so an innocent suspect held on $100,000 bail would owe $10,000, a burdensome debt for a poor person. Civil rights and civil liberties groups have expressed mixed feelings about Prop. 25 because they oppose cash bail but note that passage could allow judges to decide even more suspects are high-risk and must be detained.

Get Ready to Vote

Nov. 3 may feel far away now, but don’t forget to take the necessary steps to make sure you get to cast your vote! Here are some key details to remember:

  • Register to vote online by or have your mail-in registration postmarked by Oct. 19. If you somehow miss the deadline, all is not lost. You can still conditionally register up to Election Day itself. Not sure what your registration status is? Find out here.
  • Because of COVID-19, California is mailing all active registered voters mail-in ballots this year, so you don’t need to request one.
  • Mailed ballots should be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and received by your county’s elections office no later than Nov. 20. Scared your ballot is going to get lost in the mail? Don’t fret, the California Secretary of State has a ballot tracking tool so you can get notified of the status of your vote-by-mail ballot via email, text or call. Sign up here.
  • If you want to deliver your ballot in person on Election day, make sure you do so by the time the polls close on Nov. 3.