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PBI Inaugural Symposium and Symposium Report Released

Article by Plea Bargaining Institute
Tue 7 Nov 2023
2023 Inaugural Plea Bargaining Institute Symposium

The American criminal justice system is dominated by pleas of guilty and plea bargaining. Increasingly, other criminal justice systems around the world are also embracing varying forms of plea bargaining. The Plea Bargaining Institute (PBI) has been established to provide a global intellectual home for researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and advocacy groups to share knowledge and promote collaboration related to plea bargaining and its role in criminal processes. As part of that mission, the PBI seeks to create opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between academics, practitioners, policymakers, and advocacy organizations to assist in identifying new areas for research and inquiry in this field. Through these efforts, the PBI will assist in the creation of cutting-edge research and create opportunity for plea bargaining reform efforts, policy initiatives, and legislation to be informed by research.

Pursuant to the PBI mission to create opportunities for dialogue and collaboration, the institute convenes and participates in various events throughout the year. The focus of these events and the target audiences for these offerings vary, but each is designed to further the institute’s mission of sharing knowledge and creating opportunities for collaboration. The flagship event each year is the annual PBI Symposium.

PBI convened its inaugural annual symposium on June 15th and 16th of 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee at Belmont University College of Law. The goal of the inaugural symposium was to share information about current developments in plea bargaining research, advocacy, and policy making. The event also sought to begin the work of creating networks of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and advocacy organizations to create more opportunities for collaboration, including cross-disciplinary research. Finally, the symposium sought feedback from the participants regarding a number of issues in the plea bargaining field, including the identification of new areas of research and new issues for inquiry as the institute seeks to increase our understanding of plea bargaining and use this knowledge to positively impact reform efforts and policy developments.

The two-day symposium was attended by academics from various disciplines, practitioners, including a Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, and representatives of various think tanks and policy organizations. Representatives from the following organizations attended the symposium: Fair Trials, the Quattrone Center, The Innocence Project, NACDL, The Sentencing Project, Fair & Just Prosecution, Council on Criminal Justice, Center for Justice Innovation, Right on Crime, CATO, ACLU, and the Wilson Center.

A full report regarding the symposium, which includes a detailed discussion of the topics discussed at the event and a list of proposed areas of future research for academics related to plea bargaining developed at the event, may be found on the PBI website reports page.

PBI Symposium Breakout Session