Part 1) 1- Please read this article from last week on the NYT website. You shoul


Part 1) 1- Please read this article from last week on the NYT website. You shoul

Part 1) 1- Please read this article from last week on the NYT website. You should have access to 3 free articles per month, and if you cant open it try doing so in a private browser. Please discuss this article including the effects of crime on politics, who has ultimate control over crime policy, and whether you think this trend if crime being a major political issue for voters will increase in future elections.
2- Plea and Charge Bargaining
In New York City over 98% of cases are settled by a plea bargain, not a trial. During a plea bargain, the defendant gives up certain rights including the right to a trial, to call witnesses in their defense, to challenge evidence, the right to an appeal, and a variety of other constitutional rights. In exchange for pleading guilty and saving the Prosecutor’s office the expenses, human resources, and time of going to trials which can take weeks or months, the person is offered a more lenient sentence. Giving up one’s right to a trial in order to receive a lighter sentence in known as the “trial penalty” and many have argued that people are being pressured into waiving these and other rights by prosecutors who hold all of the cards. In the case where a person does not want to admit their guilty and instead opts for a trial, prosecutors have historically sought a much harsher sentence that carries substantially more prison time. A critique of the Khalief Browder case, and others, is that defendants are pressured into taking a plea because the costs of going to trial are so high.
At the same time, trials are imperfect, can still result in wrongful convictions and longer sentences, and often take years to be scheduled as lawyers are busy and dockets are full. Many argue that there is simply no realistic alternative to plea bargains and that if everyone had a trial the system would explode.
1) Read the PDF ” Plea and Charge Bargaining” on the Materials Page first.
2) Then read the article from the Atlantic listen to the Voir Dire Podcast “The Trial Penalty” for questions about NYC.…
Answer the following questions.
From “Plea and Charge Bargaining” What are the summary findings of the study of Federal Plea Bargains? What are the Policy Implications?
Given that there are hundreds of thousands of arrests in NYC every year, is it reasonable to completely do away with plea bargains? If everyone got “their day in court” what might happen?
Do you believe that prosecutors have too much discretion and that defendants incur a “trial penalty”? How might this be made more fair?
Your textbook argues that with “bargained justice” (Plea Bargains), victims are often disappointed as those who commit serious crimes are able to receive relatively light sentences. How does plea bargaining contribute to both excessive convictions and wrongful convictions as well as criminals escaping justice for serious crimes that injure members of society. Can we reconcile this contradiction under the existing system?
3)Read the PDF on Blackboard entitles “Bail Discovery and Speedy Trial Reform”. What changed in New York’s criminal procedure law in 2020 and why? Why was the former system considered unfair?
Read the following article about Bail reform what was changed under the law and what crimes are now eligible for bail?
Part 2) 1- Discuss Shane Bauer’s Piece “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard”. What is his central argument? How did working at the private prison change him? Can private prisons be reformed or should they be closed? What were some of the issues the author raised with the private prison system? What does John Pfaff say about private prisons in “Locked In.”

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard: A Mother Jones Investigation

2) Watch and discuss the content of the “College Behind Bars” Documentary on Netflix. What parts of this film did you find the most interesting? Do you think this program should be expanded? What other programs can we offer to people behind bars who may not be interested in education? Is it worth funding these programs? If so, how do we get public support for this?



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