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The Plea-Bargaining Process: Pros and Cons


The plea-bargaining process is a method of sentence bargaining. The prosecutor, investigating a case, accepts the possibility of imposing a lighter penalty or a sentence on a wrongdoer if they do not contest accusations and plead their guilty. It is a case of an exchange, where a defendant confesses or pleads their culpable actions and gets less severe charges in return. This sentence bargaining causes several issues. Most experts do not admit this juridical phenomenon as a rational option. They claim that the plea-bargaining process might entail a vast expanse of controversial topics in terms of social and public disendorsements and conflicts.

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Plea Bargaining Process in Light of Rational Choice Theory and Conflict Theory

Sentence bargaining is considered to be a rational choice to conduct law practices. It predisposes a rational choice of a defendant to accept their guilt and be sentenced to a deserved charge corresponding to their criminal actions in accordance with the constitutional law. The implementation of the plea-bargaining modeling is a rational option in case of the real guilt of a defendant, assuming their culpable actions. There are practices of fabricated instances in which an innocent person is stuck on counterfeit charges in order to accept their alleged culpable actions. In these practices, innocent individuals are forced into assuming their guilt to be imprisoned. According to Savitsky (2021), agreeing that these two people are delinquent, a real criminal and a fabricated one, a plea offer induces “the innocent defendant to plead guilty, while the guilty defendant will reject the plea offer” (p.147). It is a case on conflict theory embracing the incentive of a prosecutor to jail a person in order to seal or close a court case as soon as possible.

Strategy in Modifying the Plea Agreement Process to Remove the Inherent Disparity of Bargaining Power

It is obvious that the plea agreement process is under the seizure of elaborated analysis, as this method embraces unregulated law practices. Crespo claims (2018) that plea bargaining evolves “the unregulated interstices” of the US criminal justice system. A working strategy aligned with disparity remoting has to be devised to reduce all significant downsides of this system. It is evident that sentence bargaining is to a defender’s advantage, as they might reduce their guilt and be released under the attorney’s intimidation. Lawyers might reassess distributive bargaining strategies to eliminate all possible disparities during the elaborate investigation. Via collecting and surveying only credible evidence proving a wrongdoer’s culpability, prosecutors and attorneys might hold meticulous negotiating, questioning both sides of the trial to unravel a case. During these negotiations, two parties might conclude how to allocate and operate on their so-called scarce resources and line of defense.

Evidence-Based Argument in Support of the Plea-Bargaining Process and the Argument against Plea Bargaining

The evidence-based argument supporting sentence bargaining is a humane and loyal way of criminal treatment. It provides them with an opportunity to commute their sentence if they assume their guilt and are ready to facilitate the investigation. It is a personal choice of a wrongdoer to unseal their criminal misdemeanor, thus easing their sentence or wait for prosecutor evidence proving their delinquency. When it comes to the argument against plea bargaining, it is an unfair and unregulated way of a court process, as there are a lot of innocent people to be jailed. These people cannot prove their unguilty for several reasons, such as the lack of finances to hire a competent attorney or a well-elaborated fabricated case against them. It is a telling example of dealing with disparities during the negotiating court hearings.


The plea-bargaining process is a controversial and under-consideration issue with its significant downsides and upsides. This practice is supposed to be “under the law shadow,” as it is an unregulated law technique in solving law cases. It might provide a criminal with less severe punishment, and it is a case of tolerant US policy concerning all residents of this country. On the other hand, the sentence bargaining might convict an innocent person, which is not fair; so the question is still open.


Crespo, A. M. (2018). The hidden law of plea bargaining. Columbia Law Review, 118(5), 1303-1424.

Savitsky, D. (2012). Is plea bargaining a rational choice? Plea bargaining as an engine of racial stratification and overcrowding in the United States prison system. Rationality and Society, 24(2), 131–167.

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