This problem has not been addressed squarely to date because of the fragmented nature of the various reform movements. Plea-bargaining reforms have been attempted without a simultaneous attempt to control sentencing discretion. A comprehensive approach would begin to explore the possibility of simultaneously imposing controls over these interrelated decisions.
The administration of criminal justice in the United States has come a long way in the past thirty years. The most important change has been an intellectual revolution which has focused attention on the phenomenon of discretion. This has been accompanied by a legal and administrative revolution, which has imposed a number of controls over discretionary decision points. The basic conclusion of this interim report is that the control of discretion is possible. Some things work. The task that lies ahead involves assessing in great detail the conditions of successful discretion control and developing a more comprehensive approach to the problem. The system has not been fully tamed, but a start has been made. Much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done. The real difference between today and thirty years ago is that we now understand the nature of the problem, we have been disabused of our belief in simple solutions, and we have a sense of the general direction future reform should take.