Mongkol Nitirojsakul / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm
Now playing
01:42
Nearly 500,000 in jail without a conviction
obama drug prison reform sot_00001419.jpg
CNN
obama drug prison reform sot_00001419.jpg
Now playing
00:50
Obama: Prison should help nonviolent drug offenders
obama inmates mistakes prison reform sot_00000000.jpg
obama inmates mistakes prison reform sot_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:32
Obama: Inmates made 'mistakes' like I did
Shutterstock
Now playing
05:31
About 6,000 U.S. inmates to be released from prison
US President Barack Obama visits the cell where Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist, was once jailed on Robben Island, on June 30, 2013. Paying homage to the 94-year-old former South-African president, who is critically ill in hospital, Obama stared into the stark cell where Mandela spent two thirds of his 27 years in jail.  AFP PHOTO/JIM  WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama visits the cell where Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist, was once jailed on Robben Island, on June 30, 2013. Paying homage to the 94-year-old former South-African president, who is critically ill in hospital, Obama stared into the stark cell where Mandela spent two thirds of his 27 years in jail. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:05
Obama's push for criminal justice reform
Now playing
02:53
Rapper Jeezy discusses gun laws and prison reform
obama prison reform plan van jones lead live_00023701.jpg
obama prison reform plan van jones lead live_00023701.jpg
Now playing
05:23
Nearly 6,000 drug inmates to go free
CNN —  

California will end the cash bail system in a sweeping reform for the state. Rather than requiring defendants to pay in order to be released before trial, their release will hinge on an assessment of their risk to public safety.

“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.

Brown signed the bill Tuesday, and the new law goes into effect October 1, 2019.

California is the first state to eliminate money bail completely, according to the Pretrial Justice Institute, an organization that advocates for pretrial justice reform.

Critics have long contended that the money bail system perpetuates inequality. While some people are able to quickly get out of jail by posting bail, people who aren’t able to afford it sit in jail until the court takes action, or until they work with a bail bond agent to secure their freedom, which can leave them in debt.

“Abolishing money bail and replacing it with a risk-based system will enhance justice and safety. For too long, our system has allowed the wealthy to purchase their freedom regardless of their risk, while the poor who pose no danger languish in jail,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta, one the lawmakers who introduced the bill, in a statement.

Under the new law, a pretrial assessment would be done by either court employees or a local public agency that has been contracted to determine a defendant’s risk. That entity would assess the likelihood that the person will not appear in court or commit a new crime while released, and would make a recommendation for conditions of release. The defendant will be assessed as high, medium or low risk.

A person who is deemed as high risk, including those arrested for violent felonies, will not be released.

The California Money Bail Reform Act, also known as Senate Bill 10, passed in the State Senate with a vote of 26-12, and the General Assembly by 42-31.

“SB 10 puts all Californians on equal footing before the law and makes public safety the only consideration in pretrial detention. This critical reform is long overdue,” Toni Atkins, Senate president pro tempore, said in a statement.

But the ACLU in California expressed disappointment over the bill, saying it “is not the model for pretrial justice and racial equity that California should strive for.”

“It cannot guarantee a substantial reduction in the number of Californians detained while awaiting trial, nor does it sufficiently address racial bias in pretrial decision making,” said the three executive directors of the California ACLU affiliates, Abdi Soltani (Northern California), Hector Villagra (Southern California) and Norma Chávez Peterson (San Diego & Imperial Counties). “Indeed, key provisions of the new law create significant new risks and problems.”

The organization pulled its support for the bill earlier this month as the it underwent changes in the state legislature.

CNN’s Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.