Plea Bargaining and Racial Injustice


Plea bargaining reform is a racial justice issue. Racial disparities are entrenched in many stages of the US’s criminal legal system, from arrests and charges to convictions and sentencing. Plea bargaining is no exception.

This film from Fair Trials explores how racialised people in the United States receive harsher charges, worse plea offers by prosecutors and worse representation by defense counsel in plea negotiations. The whole process happens behind closed doors; there is a pressing need for increased scrutiny so that public actors are held accountable.


  • Somil Trivedi – Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project
  • Martín Sabelli – President, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Derwyn Bunton – Chief Public Defender, Orleans Public Defender
  • Chanel Cornett – Legal and Policy Officer, Fair Trials

Directed by Ambika Samarthya-Howard

Read the information sheet on plea bargaining and criminal justice. Find out more about plea bargaining.