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Letters to the Editor: George Gascón’s no-cash-bail move isn’t radical or new

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón speaks after taking the oath of office Monday in downtown L.A.
(Bryan Chan / Los Angeles County)

To the editor: Statistics seem to validate new Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s decision to no longer seek cash bail for criminal defendants. A report last month by the Prison Policy Initiative found that “when states, cities and counties began releasing more people pretrial, there were no corresponding waves in crime.”

Gascón is in good company. According to the report, after Santa Clara County started using risk assessment for release, the number of people released without cash bail increased by 45%. Ninety-nine percent of these people were not rearrested.

In 2020, the district attorney of San Francisco (a job that Gascón used to hold) announced his office would no longer ask for cash bail. According to the report, the city’s jail population decreased by 47%, and the “new criminal activity rate,” which measures the rate at which people commit new crimes while awaiting trial, is 10%.

Reforms that reduce the incarceration of people who pose no threat to public safety are showing success.

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Carole Urie, Laguna Beach

The writer is founder and chief executive of the Returning Home Foundation.

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To the editor: With homicides higher than they’ve been in years, the last thing Los Angeles County needs is Gascón as its new district attorney. If there’s only one person in the county who has to be tough on crime, it’s the DA.

Unfortunately, Gascón wants to eliminate bail and seek light sentences. Gascón’s true line of work should’ve been either as a member of the parole board or as a humanitarian.

Instead of backing his prosecutors in cases, Gascón will be siding with the defense attorneys.

Charles Reilly, Manhattan Beach

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To the editor: As many have said in the past, change is difficult. Concern about the changes proposed by Gascón led me to vote for his opponent.

That said, I am willing to give him a chance with the sweeping proposals he identified.

I ask this though: Let’s put a time bracket on these changes, say a year, then compare data on various crimes before and after. If the changes improve matters, great, keep them. If crime worsens, maybe what we had was better.

Darrin Lambrigger, El Segundo

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To the editor: I could have sworn that we just had a statewide election with a proposition to eliminate cash bail. And, that proposition was voted down by a majority of Californians.

Now, Gascón knows better and is going to implement this change immediately. He sounds just like President Trump during his first days in office.

Robert DiPaolo, Los Angeles


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