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Davis, California

Monday, March 4, 2024

Yolo County ‘Zero Bail’ case study finds increase in crime and recidivism

A study of the 13-month-long policy reveals the outcomes of California Zero Bail in Yolo County


By MADELEINE YOUNG city@theaggie.org


On Feb. 14, the expanded study of “California Zero Bail” was completed and reported that there was 163% more total crime and 200% more violent crime in Yolo County. Zero Bail refers to Proposition 25, or SB #10, which eliminates cash bail for certain suspects, meaning those suspects can be immediately released from custody without paying bail money or bonds.   

In Aug. 2022, District Attorney Jeff Resig published a study and analysis of re-offense rates of individuals released on “Zero Bail” that found that out of the 595 individuals studied and released on Zero Bail in Yolo County, 70.6% were re-arrested and 20% were arrested for a violent crime. 

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office released the “Posted Bail vs. Zero Bail Analysis” on Feb. 6 which covered background on the study, methodology, recidivism and other information. 

“In April 2020, the California Judicial Council imposed a statewide Emergency Bail Schedule, commonly referred to as Zero Bail. This allowed individuals accused of certain types of crime to be released from custody without the payment of bail money or a bond,” the analysis reads. “Yolo county Superior Court kept an emergency Zero Bail Schedule until June 2021, when a new bail schedule was enacted.”

Resig explained why the Zero Bail policy was introduced in California.

“The Zero Bail policy was implemented by the courts in California in order to address the concern of overcrowding in the jails during COVID[-19],” Resig said. “The rationale was that in order to protect human life from the spread of COVID[-19], courts should minimize the number of people being in locked and confined environments. The Zero Bail order was initially given by the California Supreme Court for several months and then counties individually decided to continue it after that. Yolo County had the policy in effect for 13 months.”

The report on Zero Bail is one of many bail reform studies the Yolo County DA’s office has published over the years. These studies are intended to report on the public safety impacts of the policy. Resig explained in part why he believes the report shows an increase in re-offenses.

“Those who were released on Zero Bail had little incentive to not re-offend,” Resig said. “As a result of the Zero Bail policy, individuals were immediately released from custody without any judicial risk assessment, supervision, ankle monitor, treatment, support, et cetera.”

The study collected information from The California Department of Justice records, including all arrests, date of first arrest following release, total number of arrests and if the individual was arrested on misdemeanor and/or felony charges, amongst other details. 

The study found that out of the people who were arrested, the average number of days until they were re-arrested within 18 months was 185 for those who posted bail and 129 for those who were released under emergency bail.

“This study established that Zero Bail policies, without more [reform], resulted in significantly more crime and recidivism in Yolo County,” Resig said. “This study was not a complete assessment of all types of bail reform.” 



Written By: Madeleine Youngcity@theaggie.org