MSSP SealUNITED STATES PROBATION & PRETRIAL SERVICES

Southern District of Mississippi

Carolyn M. Romano, Chief U.S. Probation Officer

__________________________________________________________________

 

 

PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION UNIT

 

Once a defendant either enters a plea of guilty or is found guilty by jury trial, they will meet with a U.S. Probation Officer in preparation of completing a presentence investigation report. In preparation for a subsequent interview with the U.S. Probation Officer, the defendant may be asked to complete the following forms: Worksheet for Presentence Report; Net Worth Statement; Net Worth Short Form; and Monthly Cash Flow. During the interview with the U.S. Probation Officer, the officer will ask the defendant about his or her family, education, employment, medical history, drug and alcohol use and financial status. The interview is followed by a period of active investigation by the probation officer to both verify the information that was provided and to uncover additional information that will assist the Court in fashioning an appropriate sentence. In addition to the social history information outlined above, the probation officer conducts an independent review of the facts underlying the offense of conviction.

The presentence investigation report is a crucial element in the sentencing process. Officers must operate under the time frames established in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or under local rules established by the court. As such, once a defendant has been referred to the probation office, the presentence investigation commences without delay.

After completing the presentence report, the U.S. Probation Officer makes recommendations regarding imprisonment, probation, supervised release, fines and restitution. The officer also makes a recommendation regarding conditions of release.

The presentence investigation report is utilized by the Court to fashion a sentence that meets the statutory purposes of sentencing of punishment, deterrence and corrective goals. The Federal Bureau of Prisons also uses the presentence investigation report where incarceration is the sentence imposed to effectively place the defendant into the proper facility and programs (e.g., substance abuse treatment, sex offender treatment, etc.). Finally, the Supervision Unit of the U.S. Probation Office utilizes the report during the pre-release investigation phase to structure appropriate supervision plans to assist in maximizing the success potential for the defendant under community supervision.

Should you have additional questions, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.

 

Frequently asked questions
Select a question to jump to its answer.


How do I know who is writing my presentence report ?

You may call the probation office located within the courthouse in which you appeared and ask the receptionist which probation officer was assigned your case.


What types of documentation do I need to bring to the presentence interview?

  • Birth certificates school diplomas/GED/college degrees
  • Pay stubs military records
  • Marriage certificate/divorce decrees immigration/naturalization documents
  • Professional licenses/permits driver’s license
  • Income taxes for the last 3 years social services records (i.e., food stamps, disability

How long before I am eligible for parole?

A bipartisan Congress enacted the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 and created the United States Sentencing Commission as a permanent agency charged with formulating national sentencing standards to guide federal judges in their sentencing decisions. Congress simultaneously abolished parole so that sentences pronounced would be sentences served. The United States Sentencing Commission addressed congressional concerns by developing new guidelines that require an offender to serve virtually all (85%) of any prison sentence imposed by abolishing parole and restructuring good behavior adjustments.


Do I still need to report to Pretrial Services now that I have pled guilty?

You must continue to report, as directed, to Pretrial Services. Following your plea, a probation officer is assigned to you for the sole purpose of conducting a presentence investigation and preparing a presentence report.


How do I obtain a copy of my presentence report?

Presentence reports are confidential documents and will only be released to your attorney (who will share it with you), the prosecutor, the court, and the Bureau of Prisons (if you are sentenced to imprisonment). Absent a court order, no other party is entitled to a copy.


If I am sentenced to a prison term, do I get taken into custody at sentenceing?

Some defendants are permitted to voluntarily surrender themselves. This means that after sentencing, you are permitted to return home. Within approximately six weeks, you will receive a letter from the U.S. Marshals Service advising you of which federal prison to report to, and on what date.


How is my place of imprisonment determined?

The Bureau of Prisons is solely responsible for selecting the institution for service of your sentence. It considers, among other things, any recommendations from the sentencing judge, your medical/mental health/substance abuse issues, the geographic area of your residence, security issues, and the population of individual institutions. The U. S. Probation Service has no input in the decision-making process and is unable to change a designation. Neither the Bureau of Prisons nor the U.S. Marshal Service is authorized to release information regarding designations to the public (i.e., offenders, defense counsel, etc.).

Once you have been designated to a facility, you should call the institution directly for information and directions. Further information is available at the Bureau of Prisons website, www.bop.gov.


What items can I bring with me to prison ?

For security, safety, and sanitation reasons, the Bureau of Prisons limits the amount of property (jewelry, photographs, books, magazines, etc.) inmates may have and the types of publications inmates can receive. The institution issues clothing, hygiene items, and bedding, and provides laundry services. Inmates may purchase other personal care items, shoes, some recreational clothing, and some food items through the commissary. Civilian clothing (i.e., clothing not issued to the inmate by the Bureau or purchased by the inmate from the commissary) ordinarily is not authorized for retention by the inmate. For more information go to www.BOP.gov.

 

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