How Many Americans Facing Criminal Charges Accept Plea Deals?

Of the approximately 23 million prisoners in American jails in 2010, about 90 to 95% accepted some kind of plea bargain. A plea bargain usually allows the criminal to plead guilty to a lesser charge, or to receive a lighter sentence. This percentage has roughly remained the same since 2000.

More criminal statistics:

  • In 1999, India had the greatest number of acquittals — over 1 million defendants were acquitted that year. India's acquittal rate in 1999 was more than the combined number of acquittals of the next 48 countries with the highest acquittal rates.

  • Around 2/3 of the world's executions occur in China.

  • Approximately 0.7% of the American population is imprisoned. This is a very high rate compared to most of the rest of the world, where the average incarceration rate is closer to 0.01%.
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Discussion Comments


I have a relative imprisoned for something she did not do. Everyone I have talked to has said that she will end up pleading to a lesser charge or face worse time if she goes to trial. These stats are depressing.

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