Didn’t Chesa’s end of cash bail mean that all these dangerous criminals were just getting immediately re-released back onto the streets as they waited for trial?
No. Eliminating bail actually makes us safer. When cash bail is used, it means someone can be released from jail if they have money to buy their freedom, no matter how dangerous their crime. By contrast, without bail, the DA will ask for someone who poses a public safety risk to be held in jail, with no option to post bail. For other crimes that are not inherently dangerous, the DA will ask the judge to release them, but may ask for conditions like an ankle monitor.
The important thing to remember is that judges, not DAs, make decisions about who to release. The California Supreme Court also limits who can be held in jail pretrial for what kind of crimes–Chesa was actually ahead of his time in his policy. As a result, many people are automatically released after arrest even before the DA learns about the case. That doesn’t mean their case goes away or isn’t being prosecuted–it just means they have the right to be out of jail pending trial. Don’t forget–jail pretrial is not supposed to be a punishment since everyone pretrial is presumed innocent. Eliminating bail means that the system is more fair and that rich people can’t buy their way out of jail and poor people aren’t stuck in jail for their poverty.