Welcome to The Plea Agreement Project design site.
We are a design team at Stanford University, and we are interested in making legal concepts more accessible to non-lawyers. The Plea Agreement Project is our effort to redesign the way plea agreements are presented to empower criminal defendants to make voluntary, informed decisions — and to make the criminal justice system more just & efficient.
This site is where we’ve gathered background materials to understand this domain, as well as inspiration, analogies & insights to feed our design process. We’ll also present ideas for prototypes here.
Our team ran a 4-session ‘pop-up class’ at Stanford’s Institute of Design (the d.school) in Spring 2014. Along with 10 graduate students from around Stanford, we ran through a quick design cycle around the challenge of: “How can we improve the Plea Agreement Experience for the various stakeholders in the criminal justice system?”
We interviewed a mix of federal & state prosecutors and defense attorneys; we read widely about different problems & opportunities in the plea bargaining process; and we collected proposals for how the process could be redesigned. During our 4 sessions, we collected insights and mapped opportunities for system redesign. Then we brainstormed products & services to improve the process — whittled these ideas down to a handful of promising ones — and then prototyped and tested these ideas.
Our pop-up class concluded by sifting through the feedback from our stakeholders, and using it to iterate on our prototypes, working them into proposals for redesigns that could be piloted in the criminal justice system.
Now our team is streamlining the various proposed projects that came out of the class into simple pilots that could be implemented with legal partners. If you are interested in piloting one of our ideas, please be in touch!