In 2013, over two million Americans were incarcerated, and over 4 million more on probation or parole. The United States incarcerates a greater percentage of it's people than any other nation in the world. I believe the reason for this is the ongoing criminalization of American life, and the abuse of tools like probation/parole and plea bargains. But I have a solution. Real change comes from real action, and here is what I propose: 1. WE NO LONGER ACCEPT PLEA BARGAINS The plea bargain is the single most abused tool in the criminal justice system. It has become so critical to the government's prosecution process, that it has altered the way criminals are tried and charged. Offenders are now often "stacked", or charged with many overlapping crimes at once, so that most of the charges can be dropped as part of a deal. 2. WE DEMAND A SPEEDY TRIAL We have a right to a speedy trial, but the fact is, many Americans never get it. They don't understand it, or even know they have that right. It varies from one jurisdiction to another, but the prosecution has a time limit in which to bring your case. If they fail, the case is usually dismissed with prejudice. 3. WE DEMAND A JURY TRIAL That means that the government must assemble a jury for every criminal case that enters the system. As of now, they use the plea bargain process to all but eliminate the need for judge and jury. So, to bring the whole plan together is very simple. No rallies or riots. No big social revolution. We just all agree that if are charged with a crime, we will turn down all plea bargains, demand a speedy trial, and a trial by jury. Since there is no possible way to give everyone currently awaiting trial a fast trial by jury, and the system would literally grind to a halt without plea bargains, the government would be forced to perform some sort of triage and start dismissing petty cases. In my next installment, I'll explain how to eliminate probation, parole, and drug testing for good.
One man's solution for the ongoing criminalization and incarceration of Americans.