District Attorneys rely on the vote to keep their jobs. Same goes for many Judges. Plea bargains are a nice easy way to keep the conviction rates high.
The district attorney of San Francisco accepts plea bargains for violent criminals who deserve to go to prison. These are people who physically beat up innocent bystanders on the street. They deserve to go to prison. However, the district attorney accepts plea bargains for them because it counts as a conviction. The public defender knows that and so they request a plea bargain for every case. The judges don't care. All they do is ask the district attorney and public defender if they have reached an agreement, and if they say yes than the judge won't get involved.
Part of the problem is Prison over crowding. The are just desperately short of prison cells. This is especially true in State prisons.
About ten percent of US prisons are operated by private companies. Prisons are BIG BUSINESS so it's to their advantage to have many inmates as possible return to prison. The United States could save hundreds of millions of dollars by deporting all aliens convicted of non violent crime instead of keeping them.
The American Judicial system is predicated on revenge and punishment. Little or no attention is paid to issues like rehabilitation. Americans convicted of a felony have something like a 74% re-offender record. Compare that with the 13% re-offenders in Canada should give people a hint that something is very wrong.!!!
In Canada (and most other civilized countries) if you got say 5 years in prison. When you have served your time...you are FREE...Not so in the USA. Ex convicts get what they call "walking papers". They are required by law to inform any prospective employer that they are a convicted Felon. Talk about kicking a man when he's down !! It makes it pretty much impossible for him to find a decent job once he has served his time. NO WONDER the United States HAS 74% RETURN TO PRISON.
America has approximately 5% of the world population yet has 25% of the world's prison population.
A Canadian citizen was caught with some Pot in the U.S. and he and his pal were sentenced to heavy time. Suspect #1 pleaded "Guilty" and was sentenced to 36 months in a Federal Pen. His co-defendant who was tried separately pleaded "Not Guilty" and he got 74 months. So the deal is plead guilty OR ELSE ! So much for "innocent until proven guilty."
In America you have thousands of prisoners doing pretty heavy time for rather innocuous crimes like POT...Jeeze half the country smokes it, probably even some of the judges doing the sentencing. There are women doing 10 years for writing a bad check. The Canadian told a story about a young man (19 yrs old) who got 39 years for trafficking Chrystal Meth because he had a Gun. That is a very serious crime but 39 years in prison?
The Canadian was in prison for about 3 years. Fortunately, Canada and the USA have a prisoner exchange policy. So he was able to get a transfer to a Canadian prison to serve about a third of his sentence. His co-defendant because he pleaded NOT GUILTY was denied a transfer to a Canadian Prison. Why keep him here?