Importance of the Presentence Investigation Report

The presentence investigation report, otherwise known as a PSR or a PSIR, is an extremely important document for federal criminal defendants. The presentence investigation report is utilized by not just the Court for sentencing; it also is utilized by the Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Probation Office to determine how the defendant should be handled. For this reason, ensuring the accuracy and thoroughness of the report is crucial to achieving proper treatment. It is important to consider, the presentence investigation report is compiled at the behest of the court, and does not act as an advocate for the defendant.

What is a Presentence Investigation Report?

A presentence investigation report is a comprehensive report which the Court uses to assist in the sentencing of federal offenders. A presentence investigation report includes information about the defendant’s family, education, employment, finances, physical and mental health and alcohol/substance abuse. Although the primary purpose of the presentence investigation report is to assist the court in its sentencing function, according to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s website; the PSR is also a valuable source for the Bureau of Prisons. This includes determining which institution the offender will serve his/her sentence, select prison programs that are appropriate, and make release plans. The PSR is then also used to guide the U.S. Probation Office to assist in the supervision of the offender upon their release from custody.

Who prepares the Presentence Investigation Report?

The presentence investigation report is prepared by a United States Probation Officer. It is important for defendants to understand that the Probation Officer works at the behest of the Court and is not an advocate on their behalf. A defendant may think that only the “points” matter, however; this is not true. All aspects of the reports should be accurate in order to present the Court with a complete representation of events.

Why is accuracy of the presentence investigation report so important?

While defendants can think that only the “points” matter, it is important that all aspects of the report are accurate.  If there are any inaccuracies in facts of the crime itself, or in prior criminal summaries, it can have a profound effect on how the Court evaluates you.  If the facts depict an act that did not occur, or was previously misrepresented, it needs to be corrected prior to the sentencing hearing.  In the case that the Court makes a change on the record, the attorney should ask for a corrected PSR to be issued.  The importance of the accuracy of a PSR cannot be understated, which is why choosing an attorney who can assist with sentencing such as Laguzzi Law, P.C. is so crucial.

A presentence investigation report is prepared by a Probation Officer as ordered by the court. This is done in every federal criminal case before a defendant can be sentenced.  In fact, if the Court does not order a report, this can be grounds for an appeal or collateral review of the case later on.  It is important to understand the Probation Officer works for the court, not the defendant. It is the defendant’s responsibility to ensure that the presentence investigation report is wholly accurate. This is why choosing a sentencing lawyer such as Laguzzi Law, P.C. is so crucial. They can help to navigate the confusing and frustrating process and be the advocate you need to ensure your depiction to the court is accurate.  A detail oriented attorney at Laguzzi Law, P.C. will know what to do at every step.