The body proposing the new guidelines insists that a person who is innocent will not be pressured into pleading guilty.
09:05, UK,Thursday 11 February 2016
Prison Bars
Criminals who agree to plead guilty to their offences - even when they have little or no prospect of being acquitted - may have their sentences slashed by up to a third.
Defendants who plead guilty are already entitled to a lower sentence but, currently, a judge is limited to how much he or she can cut if the prosecution has a strong case and the defendant is likely to be found guilty.
However, new draft guidelines say that the strength of the evidence - meaning that the defendant is likely to be found guilty - should no longer be under consideration when it comes to shortening the prison term.
Announcing the move, the Sentencing Council said it accepted the guidelines could be seen as controversial and the taking away of the possibility of controlling the maximum cut could be seen as an "erosion of judicial discretion".
Prisons GFX
However, it argued, the benefits from a guilty plea - such as sparing witnesses from court and saving public money and time - should still apply when there is an overwhelming case.
A consultation document setting out the proposals said: "There is an understandable reluctance to provide those who are guilty with a 'reward' for pleading guilty, especially when they have little or no prospect of being acquitted.
"However, it is important to recognise that the guilty plea reduction is in place to provide an incentive and not a reward. For it to work effectively, it is important that it is a clear and unqualified incentive to the defendant."
Sentencing Council chairman Lord Justice Treacy said: "We want those who have committed crimes to admit their guilt as early as possible.
David Lammy
"When they do, it means victims and witnesses can be reassured that the offender has accepted responsibility for what they have done and that they are spared having to appear at court to testify.
"It also means that the police and Crown Prosecution Service can use their resources more efficiently to investigate and prosecute other cases."
The guideline will apply to criminal cases in England and Wales and covers both adult and youth offenders.
The council emphasised there was nothing that "should be taken to suggest that an accused person who is not guilty of an offence should be pressured to plead guilty".
London 2012 - UK Landmarks
Lucy Hastings, of the charity Victim Support, said it was "critical" the process was properly explained to victims.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said no decisions have been made.