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By Julian Peeples

As our nation grapples with institutional racism and a justice system rife with inequity, California voters have a chance to end the cash bail system, which keeps people in jail only because they are poor.

Proposition 25 is a chance to make California’s criminal justice system more fair and equitable by replacing a money bail system that grants freedom only to those who can afford it with one that prioritizes public safety and justice. With Prop. 25, Californians have an opportunity to be at the forefront of the national movement to root out discrimination in our justice system, and make communities safer.

A Yes vote on Prop. 25 means replacing a system that criminalizes poverty and race with an unbiased individual assessment of each person’s risk to public safety. It eliminates a money bail system that allows anyone, including dangerous offenders, to buy their way to freedom if they are wealthy enough to afford it.

“I’m voting Yes on Prop. 25 because cash bail is both racist and classist,” says Dawn Murray-Sibby, a member of Temecula Valley Educators Association. “It’s time to end this ongoing inequity.”

Prop. 25 is not only the right thing to do, it also makes financial sense, especially at a time when our state faces historic budget shortfalls and a long road ahead to economic recovery. The cash bail system costs all of us — about $5 million every day to keep nearly 50,000 people accused of low-level crimes locked up simply because they can’t afford to post bail.

Vote Yes on Prop. 25 to get money out of criminal justice by replacing an unfair, unsafe and wasteful money bail system based on wealth with one that prioritizes public safety and justice for all.

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