ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato says without plea deals, our justice system would not function properly, claiming there’s too many cases and not enough judges to handle them.
However, Bruscato says that doesn’t mean criminals are left off the hook. He argues plea deals are necessary to move many cases through the courts, claiming a trial and plea deal both bring justice.
Bruscato also says the jail population is lower due to some negotiations. Right now, there’s more than 800 inmates in the Winnebago County jail, compared to 1,150 in 2011. Although, Bruscato says that’s not why they make deals.
“We do not prioritize plea negotiations in order to control jail population. If a plea negotiation is appropriate and serves a just end, we will enter into it.”
Bruscato says another factor is more cases have gone to trial.
The Winnebago County State’s Attorney tells us both the defense and prosecution can offer a plea deal. He says many times judges sit in to help guide the negotiation. He says the goal of all deals is to ensure public safety.