SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 1375, authored by Assemblymember Thurmond (D-Richmond), adjusts the credit for time served incarcerated in lieu of paying court fines from the current $30.00 per day that was set in 1976, to the 2014 equivalent inflation rate of $125.00 per day.
“This bill is a step forward in bringing equity for those defendants unable to pay their criminal fines outright due to financial struggles. It will also relieve the burden on the taxpayers since the cost of incarceration is substantially more than the value of the fines imposed on an individual,” stated Assemblymember Thurmond.
While base fines have not increased substantially since 1976, the total amount that offenders are required to pay has skyrocketed due to added penalties and assessments. For example, the total fine for running a red light increased from $103 in 1993 to $490 today – a 475% increase in just 20 years.
The failure to adjust the rate of credit hurts poor defendants far more, potentially impacting their financial and employment stability. Poor defendants are less likely to be able to post bail and will spend more time incarcerated awaiting a hearing or “working off” their fine. Increasing the credit for time served in lieu of fees also helps decrease jail overcrowding.
AB 1375 will bring a measure of equity and fiscal common sense to an unfair and illogical situation that has been getting worse with each passing year.
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.