You’ve been found Guilty – Now What

What you do next will determine your future

Dr. Blatstein’s experience. 

Preparation for your Presentence Interview (PSI) cannot be overstated, your future depends on it.

Why? Because, from your Interview, The Probation Officer (P.O.) will write the official Presentence Report (PSR), with it, 

  • The Judge will determine the length of your sentence. 
  • The Bureau of Prisons Administration uses the same PSR to place or designate you in a prison.
    • Your Unit Team, Case Managers, Psychologists, and Medical will refer to it throughout your stay. 
    • Visitation is determined by it
    • Your Personal Narrative is your chance to take back some control of your future
      • But even if all things are done right, the Judge may still not change your sentence and placement
        • But now your Narrative, as part of your Presentence Report (PSR) will be seen and positively used as you transition through the BOP, into Halfway House and Probation, and then home confinement and/or supervised release. All along you are adding to your Reentry Plan.
        • Your Personal Narrative is now “The Gift That Keeps on Giving” – in a good way.

The probation officer controls your future. They conduct your interview, draft the presentence report, and can sway the court regarding your sentence length and placement.

Are you happy with the Indictment-Narrative that the DOJ released to Google, which is being read as 100% Fact – by everyone, including your friends, colleagues, family, the Jury (if you’re going to trial), your attorney, The Probation Officer, Prosecutor, and the Judge? Plus, it will stay online forever.


No, then start working to change the DOJ’s version of your Narrative today. It may take ~100 hours to write (and re-write), but only You can change, “Your Narrative.”


One of the first steps after the “guilty” hearing is to learn who will be your probation officer.

  • First contact. After “guilty”- it’s helpful for your attorney to connect with your Probation Officer before they speak with the Prosecutor and get Biased against you, then learn the date for their “dictation deadline”, which is the date that their Presentence Report (PSR) draft is due to their supervisor, plus the date for your interview. 
    • This provides the opportunity to get your ‘message’ to the officer – before that conversation with the prosecutor or read the voluminous amount of information provided by The DOJ online, which is biased against you.
  • From an interview with Judge Nancy Gertner
    • Early and frequent contact with the probation officer can lead to a positive presentence report,
    • The lawyer should find out as much as possible from the probation officer assigned to the case including whether the probation officer talks to the judge prior to sentencing.
    • Find out if the judge meets with the probation officer and/or follows their recommendations.

The ultraconservative Charles Koch Institute, on the criminal justice reform section of its website, states that “Jail should be reserved for people who pose a threat to public safety.”  Judge Gertner agreed and suggested that’s a good point to make to a sentencing judge.

    • For most judges, the key questions they want to be answered are:
      1. Why did your client do what he did?
      2. What has he done to own his mistake and demonstrate sincere remorse?
      3. Why was the behavior out of character with an otherwise law-abiding life if it was?
      4. Why is he unlikely to do it again?
      5. Why should I cut him a break?
    • For Judge Gertner, it appeared that a key question she wanted to be answered was: Why did your client do what he did, and why is he unlikely to do it again?

The Presentence Report’s content is derived from all the information the probation officer has learned from you, and your defense team during their Interview and Investigation. This is why it’s best that the defense strategy is organized, and documented before the Presentence Interview (PSI) has even begun. The completed version that your attorneys want the court to see is provided to the P.O., with the goal of being included in their final drafting of your client’s Presentence Report (PSR).

    • This includes your Personal Narrative then include it in your Presentence Report,
    • Your allocation – your only opportunity for you to express your remorse to the victims and how you got to this point (similar to your Narrative) to the court – needs to be practiced and role-played with your attorney, because the judge may want to have a conversation with you.
    • It is also helpful to hear what your attorney plans to say at the sentencing hearing – which is also practiced with you. This memorandum will be submitted 1 week before the hearing and reviewed together with your attorney.

Probation officers are often overworked and have no timesome may actually appreciate your efforts, should it help ease their workload.

Meanwhile, you have been,

1. Collect copies of your medical records: Hospital, laboratory, radiology, physician, surgical, prescription, and medical devices. As all of these take time, medical practices are also very busy – so don’t wait.

2. Other records: Educational, military, character, community service, work references, original birth certificates, social security card, license, etc, and, you get the picture.

3. Of significance to your life in the BOP;

    • Bottom Bunk: Past medical history of Tinnitus, vertigo, or back problems.
    • Diabetic Soft Shoes, Sneakers Instead of Rigid Institutional Boots: Past medical history of a torn Achilles heel, knee, or hip issues.
    • Being of a certain age / Having weight, or having a Hernia issue: could result in getting passes of “no standing for prolonged periods” and “no lifting over 15 pounds,” helping you escape some of the crappier work assignments.
    • “Medical idles,” which get you out of everything, are also available, either short or long-term, for various ongoing ailments (ranging from a bad hip to PTSD).

When the date comes for Your Presentence Interview, You’re prepared, Right?

    • After you have been interviewed, The PO will investigate, verifying all that you have told them and all the documents that have been provided. Their next step is to draft the official Presentence Report (Blatstein et al., 2021), which they will provide to the court. The attachments you provided should be included in the PSR and will impact your future.
    • They will likely provide both sentencing and BOP placement recommendations to the court at this point.

This is why the Presentence Interview (PSI) is the best opportunity for your legal team to get their “message on the record”, and into the Presentence Report (PSR), before it reaches the court.

    • The Presentence Report may provide the opportunity for making a BOP Placement request, along with the supporting reasons “why” the request is being made, or requesting that the court consider other “relevant conduct”, to look beyond the offense of conviction to what actually happened – but once the PSI is done, and the official PSR has been drafted, getting it changed is a big ask.
    • Requesting to add new content after that date is possible, but nothing is guaranteed. Where there is further biographical information, your attorney could request to email it to your P.O., by category, so that the P.O. could simply copy-paste it into the appropriate categories, thereby making it a more straightforward process.

PREPARATION: PROBATION INTERVIEW (FORM) starts out with; can you explain what happened, and then follow a format similar to the outline below, which should be reviewed for content accuracy.

VICTIM IMPACT: The chance for victims to speak

OFFENSE CONDUCT- ASSESSMENT OF CRIME: STATEMENT Critical to review for accuracy due to its sentencing enhancement ramifications

  • Probation Officers Report what happened in an offense, so check it.
    1. Their narrative is not always based on what took place during the trial.
    2. Many probation officers will rely upon what others allege, rather than what was proven.
    3. This section is important to be kept accurate as it could overextend the sentence.
    4. If the probation alleges “leadership,” the BOP, taking that information into account, could determine that person’s suitability for minimum-security placement
  • Therefore close attention should be paid to this area so that all parties are in agreement, and the defendant does not face any future prison repercussions.

USSC CRIMINAL HISTORY: A scored calculation based on criminal history

USSC OFFENSE LEVEL/CONDUCT: A scored calculation based on your current charges. 



OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS: This is where through conversation the officer learns who you are. Saying nothing leaves ‘all’ including the court to believe what the DOJ has released to the press is 100% true. If Not, THEN THIS IS YOUR TIME TO TO WRITE YOUR STORY/NARRATIVE AND PROVIDE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

FAMILIAL HISTORY: Married – Children – parents’ responsibilities and sole caregiver

DEFENDANT’S PHYSICAL CONDITION: Medically documented bad Back-Hip-Knees-Shoulder could provide you with a Bottom Bunk. Diabetic, Vascular Disease, Raynaylds could allow the Medicare soft shoe or sneakers.

MEDICAL/PHYSICAL HEALTH, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Include ALL medical records, Labs, Surgery Reports, X-ray – CT-MRI-Ultrasound-Pet Scans (in Written and CD Format), Prescriptions for medications (Check Generic Medication Availability), and medical devices, along will ALL physician contact information.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Alcohol, Drug (Legal or Illegal), within the previous 12 months before the arrest. RDAP allows up to 1 year off the sentence. They may do a Urine test.

EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL SKILLS: Copied of the highest level, otherwise a GED will be required in prison. If you have experience in/with computers, administrators frown on these skills, so you may want to reconsider using these.

MILITARY: Copies, branch, discharge?

EMPLOYMENT: The PO will check. Judges love a good work record/history

STATEMENT FINANCIAL RECORDS: If there are financial fines/restitution, Congress and The BOP now require a Financial Responsibility Plan to benefit from all Earned Time Credits and access to Programming. Therefore if the events allow, counsel could ask that the court writes into the record that payments should only start after release from the BOP.

  • Financial Responsibility Plan (FRP). If you have a large fine or restitution, and money is a problem, the BOP ‘FRP’ Program requires participation, and if you refuse, this could hinder your involvement in PATTERN Programs’ efforts towards early release and Halfway House along with restricting some of your commissary use.
    • It may help if your attorney asks the judge to write into the order that
      • the defendant does not have to participate in the Financial Responsibility Plan
      • until after they are released from the BOP,
      • as they have a job and will then be able to make payments at that time.
    • Otherwise, be proactive, and at your first team meeting, offer what you can ($0.00/month) towards your FRP account. Be aware that at your next team meeting, they will know exactly how much money you have spent, and it’s too early to create a bad – first impression.
    • 12/17/2022, I learned that Judges are putting into their “Order”, that the defendant has to pay $25/quarter.
    • 1/10/2023 The new rule published in the federal register Tuesday would automatically put 75% of money sent or donated to inmates toward victim restitution. The program would be voluntary, but prisoners would have to participate in order to get credit under the First Step Act for early release from prison or into a community facility.


  • Divorce decree
  • School diplomas
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Naturalization papers
  • Draft registration card
  • Car Registration papers
  • Military discharge certificate
  • Birth or baptismal certificate
  • Immigration papers or passport
  • Employment verification (pay stubs)
  • Character Letters of Recommendation
  • Military disability information (C-number)
  • Income tax reports for the last three years
  • Proof of residence (rent receipts, property and Union, lodge, or club cards mortgage papers, etc.)
  • Professional papers (COPIES: Social Security Care, Drivers Lic., certificates, licenses, or Seaman’s papers permits)
  • Medical Records, Hospital – Surgical – Pathology and Blood Lab Reports, Copies of X-Ray, MRI, CT, Ultrasound, PET Scans, EEG, EKG reports, and CDs, Prescriptions for Medications and Medical Devices.


If You Suspect You’re The Target of a Federal Investigation | Before The Presentence Interview (PSI) | After The PSI – But Before The Sentencing Hearing | or After Sentencing or You’re Already Incarcerated – There Are Still Things – At All Levels, We Can Do

For a No Obligation Free Consult Call 240.888.7778, or by email. I answer and personally return all of my calls.

Don’t let this be a missed opportunity!

PPRSUS is here to help

Photo Credit: