How Plea Bargaining Has Impacted the Criminal Justice System

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Palmer, Dylan
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
Plea Bargaining is the primary method of convicting someone in the modern criminal justice system. Plea bargaining or a defendant pleading guilty is rooted throughout U.S. history. The usage of plea bargaining first became widely used in the United States during the prohibition era. In order to cope with the new influx of liquor law violations, the criminal justice system had to turn towards plea bargaining in order to reduce congestion. Following the end of the prohibition era, it was not until the 1970s and ’80s did the plea bargain rate once again inflate to near 90%. The new drug-focused criminal justice system led to an increase in the number of offenders, which in turn congested the criminal justice system. Since then, the number of offenders and plea bargain rate have continued to grow to new heights, further reducing the use of jury trials.
history of guilty plea and its effects