A just implementation of plea bargaining

08 January 2013

Plea bargaining has become a globalised phenomenon due to growing numbers of prosecutions and constrained judicial budgets. Each year, new countries explore the implementation of plea bargaining as a remedy for their burdened criminal justice systems. Unfortunately, plea bargaining is currently being implemented without adequate reflection regarding lessons learned from the past.

The challenge is to collect such lessons learned and disseminate this information to legislatures and judiciaries for consideration as they address plea bargaining reform or undertake the initial implementation of plea bargaining.

The idea described here is to gather lessons learned from various countries that have adopted or experimented with plea bargaining so others might benefit from their missteps and successes. This will be achieved in two ways. First, an online clearing house will collect stories of plea bargaining from all actors in the system, including judges, prosecutors, defendants and victims. This will allow for the cataloguing of a diverse group of narratives regarding the successes and failures of plea bargaining around the world. Second, actors in the plea bargaining system from various countries will be interviewed to learn more about particular plea bargaining systems.

Once all of the information and lessons learned has been gathered, the results will become part of a best practices guide, which will be disseminated to legislatures and judiciaries around the world to assist in ensuring that the efficiencies of plea bargaining are gained by those systems in need without sacrificing societal responsibilities or individual rights and liberties.

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