Early disposition or "fast-track" programs in federal sentencing allow a prosecutor to offer a reduced sentence in exchange for a defendant's prompt guilty plea and waiver of certain legal rights. Based on immigration cases in federal districts, this study finds that fast-track participants received a modest reduction in sentence length compared to otherwise similar non-participants. The estimated reduction in case processing time attributable to fast-track programs was also of moderate consequence to the government. The report discusses policy implications of fast-track processing in terms of organizational efficiency and fair treatment of defendants in federal court.
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