Remote video URL
Exploring Prosecutor Plea Bargaining Decisions in Philadelphia

As the nation reckons with its overreliance on carceral punishment and the mass incarceration of people of color, particularly Black people, experts are evaluating the primary method for case resolution for the majority of criminal cases: plea bargaining. Despite the wide use of plea bargaining, little is known about the practice, largely because it happens outside public view and with little documentation by one key actor with large discretion in the process—prosecutors.

Join the Urban Institute as we discuss the findings from an upcoming report that seeks to improve understanding of the policies, practices, case-level information, and external factors that affect prosecutors' decision making in plea bargaining in Philadelphia. We will then hear from a dynamic group of experts who will speak broadly about whether justice can be attained through a system dependent on pleas.



  • Steve Austin, Participatory Defender, Mothers in Charge
  • Leigh Courtney, Senior Policy Associate, Urban Institute
  • Jennifer Ferone, Associate Research Director, City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance
  • Oren Gur, Director of Research and Policy Advisor, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
  • Kris Henderson, Executive Director, Amistad Law Project
  • Andreea Matei, Policy Associate, Urban Institute
  • Janine Zweig, Vice President for Justice Policy, Urban Institute


Support for this event is provided by the MacArthur Foundation through the Safety and Justice Challenge research consortium, which is managed by the City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance. For more on Urban’s funding policies, go to

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Date & Time Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Urban Institute Speakers
  • Senior Policy Associate
  • Senior Policy Associate
  • Associate Vice President for Justice Policy