Facing Your Federal Prison Sentencing Hearing

 What Federal Judges Want to Know at Sentencing.
September 2017  • THE FEDERAL LAWYER

“It’s surprising how many otherwise competent attorneys punt at the sentencing hearing.”  

Prison reform is a large and complicated conversation, a goal that we all strive to reach,  but which is always tomorrow. Unfortunately, for those who are facing incarceration today, the Presentence Report is the key to their immediate future and a successful reentry.

Facing Prison
  • Current federal incarceration rates are increasing, mostly affecting people of color.
  • In the federal system; more than 86% of those indicted go to prison, (In the state system; more than 75% of those indicted- go to prison).
  • After a verdict of guilty, the most important document is the Presentence Report (PSR), generally speaking is a healthcare, criminal, family and financial background of the defendant.
  • Law schools do not teach the details of implementing the medical, security and prison placement process in order to provide the defendant and court with a facility placement recommendation.
Objectives and Goals
  • Providing qualified prison placement recommendations to the court before sentencing, taking into account security requirements and healthcare needs as well as specific interests the defendant may have in either an occupation, trade or higher learning; reducing recidivism (where applicable).
  • Reduce recidivism by matching and nurturing the defendant’s preexisting interest in a particular occupational trade or higher education; with an appropriate prison.
    • One successful example of an existing program: The LastMile.org, is a program started at San Quentin State Prison.
  • Providing continuity of medical care, that matches the defendant with prisons that are able to provide the healthcare that they need.


The PSR (Presentence Report) is used by:
  • The judge for sentencing the defendant to the length of time they’re incarcerated.
  • The BOP to designate, or place the defendant into a particular prison.
  • Probation to supervise the defendant after release.
  • Finally, it then becomes a permanent part of the defendants record.


Prison Match™; PSR / Sentencing Preparation Software matches the defendant to a prison taking into account their:
  • Individual mental and medical healthcare CARE LEVEL needs, along with medication availability.
  • Security requirements.
  • Further is can begin to reduce recidivism. How, a successful reentry can start before sentencing by matching the defendant to a facility where they have expressed an interest in either higher learning (college), or in learning a specific occupational trade. Education.