Probation Trends in Felony Cases: a Look At Prosecutorial Decision- Making in Plea Bargain Agreements
AbstractIn this research, records and responses of 166 prosecuting attorneys from three area jurisdictions, including portions of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, were examined to determine the frequency with which plea bargaining is used. Additionally, felony convictions were examined by means of content analysis for the period 1970-1985 to determine if there were any trends regarding the use of plea bargaining and/or probation as a sentencing alternative. Findings revealed increased use of plea bargaining over the fifteen years examined. The use of felony probation also increased dramatically, especially in those cases involving property crimes. Currently, for the jurisdictions examined, over 80 percent of all felony convictions result in probation where first-offenders were involved. In the case of recidivists, these felony cases resulted in probation approximately 22 percent of the time. Prosecutor views concerning the probation issue are also examined and correctional concerns discussed.