Prosecutorial Guidelines

John F. Pfaff

Professor of Law, Fordham University
Reforming Criminal Justice Vol. 2

Reformers are increasingly aware of the central role prosecutors have played in driving up the U.S. prison population. Yet few if any reform efforts have sought to directly restrict prosecutorial power. This chapter argues that reformers should design binding charging and plea bargaining guidelines to limit who prosecutors can charge, what they can charge them with, and what sentences they can demand at trial or during plea bargaining. Such guidelines could advance public safety, reduce the role of race and other impermissible factors, and help smartly reduce our prison population size.