Steven Landsburg provides the economic thinking.
"Give each prosecutor a budget of, say, 350 jail-years perAnd this would have saved Sheriff Baca the trouble of his involvement. And Paris would be back in her natural habitat, clubbing and doing all the other things that are her claim to fame.
month. In a given month, the proescutor would not be allowed to request
sentences totaling more than his budget. We can add some flexibility
by allowing the prosecurot to 'borrow' jail-years from each other and pay them
back in future months.
A prosecutor who asks for long jail sentences in one case
ought to know that he does so at a cost in terms of future cases. You migh
argue that it is wrong to let one case affect another. I reply that one
case already affects another because of the finite resources available in the
prison system. The problem is to make the prosecutor aware of the cost and
give him an incentive to respond to it.
Prosecutors, like jurors, judges and criminals, are subjet to
the universal law of human behavior: when they're not held responsible for their
actions, their actions are likely to be irresponsible. With better
incentives, we can have better justice." (pp 103-4)