Waiver Rewards and the Reduction of Crime

Richard L. Lippke

in The Ethics of Plea Bargaining

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199641468
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732195 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

Waiver Rewards and the Reduction of Crime

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Large and variable waiver rewards have also been defended on the grounds that they enable state officials to process significantly more criminal cases given their fixed resources, thereby strengthening the deterrent signals sent by legal punishment. This crime reduction rationale for such waiver rewards is shown to be unpersuasive. Alternatives, such as modest, fixed rewards or negotiable but capped rewards, will likely have comparable crime reduction effects. Also, to the extent that we permit freewheeling forms of plea bargaining, we risk undermining the norm-reinforcement function of the criminal law. It seems better, if our aim is to keep crime in check, for state officials to convey the message that offending is a serious thing that will be given little quarter. Further, overcriminalization in all its forms is shown to complicate the crime reduction analysis of plea bargaining.

Keywords: waiver rewards; crime reduction; deterrence; criminal law; norm reinforcement; overcriminalization

Chapter.  14580 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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