You are here

Presentence Investigation

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.