Throughout the history of the U.S. criminal justice system, progressives have long sought to ameliorate the disparities that have persisted between minorities and whites in sentencing and being convicted of crimes. Through decades of focused efforts, nothing seems to have worked. Today’s progressives are slowly coming to the realization that the strategies that they have attempted before have been inadequate. This has particularly been true in the face of the gigantic, lucrative and deeply entrenched prison industrial complex, which employs hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country.
But one of the progressive movements most lionized and visible leaders, George Soros, has decided to attempt a new strategy to reform the long-standing disparities that exist within the criminal justice system. Soros has decided to begin personally funding the campaigns of progressive candidates throughout the South, particularly those running for sheriff, judgeships and prosecutorial offices. Read this story about George at politico.com
The strategy has proven to be extremely effective thus far. George Soros has donated tens of millions of dollars to prosecutorial races throughout the Southern United States, leading to victories in almost every single instance. But this strategy relies on one crucial fact, which many progressives that have attempted to change the system from the top down have long ignored.
In the United States criminal justice system, the person who often has the most power is the prosecutor or district attorney. This is due to the fact that they have a tool at their disposal that is unique to the U.S. justice system. This tool is the plea bargain.
Plea bargains developed as a means to handle the incredibly heavy case load of urban metropolises throughout the United States. Without the ability to dispense with the vast majority of cases without trial, the court systems throughout the nation’s largest cities would quickly become clogged, leading to criminals walking free and innocent people needing to wait years in order for their cases to be heard. Because this violates the U.S. constitutional right to a quick and speedy trial, the plea bargain was developed to ensure that people were not languishing in jail for years to be seen by a judge for a parking infraction. Read more at The New York Times about George.
But this new tool gave the prosecutors enormous sway over individual lives. By threatening to charge defendants with crimes that can carry up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors can oftentimes compel people to plead to much lesser crimes, even in cases where they may not necessarily be guilty. This is theorized to be one of the leading factors that have led to the disparities in incarceration rates between minorities and whites in the United States.
Through progressive prosecutors, who have the discretion to charge people or not charge people with crimes, Soros believes that it will be possible to radically diminish, from the ground up, the number of minorities that are sent to prison.