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Plea Bargaining Institute Launched

Article by Plea Bargaining Institute
Tue 13 Dec 2022

In late 2022, the Plea Bargaining Institute was launched to provide a global intellectual home for academics, policymakers, advocacy organizations and practitioners working in the plea bargaining space.

“There is a vital need for an institute that makes important research findings and case developments widely available to those working to reform plea bargaining practices,” said Founding Director Lucian Dervan. “Simultaneously, there needs to be an organization that creates opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between academics, practitioners and advocacy organizations to assist in identifying new areas for research and inquiry in this field. Today, we launch an institute that will meet these needs and help propel current and future plea bargaining reform efforts.”

Professor Dervan continued, “For decades, the plea bargaining system operated in the shadows – not well understood, not well regulated and not regularly subjected to robust challenge through litigation. Fortunately, that has begun to change over the last decade with growing research and advocacy. As research endeavors and reform efforts grow there is a vital need for an entity that can create cohesion and communication between the various groups. PBI will provide a global intellectual home for researchers, practitioners, and policy advocates to share knowledge and promote collaboration.”

Rebecca Shaeffer, a member of the PBI Board of Advisors, said, “Plea Bargaining has come to all but replace criminal trials in the USA, but there is still insufficient knowledge about its impacts on the justice system and the people subject to it. The Plea Bargaining Institute will advance research in this field and provide an empirical and legal basis for the reforms we know the system needs.”

PBI will focus on the following initiatives as it begins to create a global intellectual home for plea bargaining research:

  • Summaries of research and case law developments provided in a searchable online format and in annual reports to make these materials more accessible for use by academics across various fields, policymakers, advocacy organizations and practitioners.
  • Working groups for academics, policymakers, advocacy organizations and practitioners to share knowledge and create opportunities for dialogue and collaboration.
  • A periodic symposium at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tennessee to establish which new areas of research are necessary to bring attention to and reform the plea bargaining system both in the US and around the world.

As PBI grows, the project will expand its reach, including providing education and outreach.