Reports Examine Plea Bargains
November 30, 2022 | Grantee Publications | Criminal Justice
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Two reports on plea bargains show the underbelly of the opaque practice. Plea bargains often occur outside public view and with little procedural documentation. One report looks at plea bargaining processes and outcomes in Milwaukee and St. Louis Counties, and researchers found the large majority are disposed through guilty pleas, with more art than science. The other looked explicitly at prosecutorial discretion in plea bargaining in Philadelphia and found many attorneys noted lack of training and high level of discretion. Both reports found disparities in the ways people of color experienced plea bargaining offers and processes. The MacArthur-supported reports recommend possible reforms, including more oversight, guidelines, and training to help achieve more just outcomes.

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