What is The Presentence Report?
The Presentence Report (PSR), acts as your “referral” – impacting all aspects of your life,
Medical and Mental Healthcare Needs
Psychology Programs – Limited Availability
FSA Programming, and Criminogenic Needs, Risk Assessment
WORK YOU CAN DO TO HELP SHORTEN YOUR STAY: INVEST IN YOUR PERSONAL NARRATIVE – ALLOCUTION – REENTRY/RELEASE PLAN
YOUR FIRST MEETING WITH YOUR UNIT TEAM: 1st) REQUEST TO TAKE (LEARN, ANSWER, AND INCLUDE) THE FSA – SPARC-13 ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS, INTO YOUR NARRATIVE, 2nd) THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM.
YOUR PATTERN SCORE IS FIXED AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME – BUT CAN CHANGE, WHAT IS YOURS? (MALE or FEMALE)
If You Suspect You’re The Target of a Federal Investigation | Before The Presentence Interview (PSI) | After The PSI – But Before The Sentencing Hearing | After Sentencing or You’re Already Incarcerated | There Are Still Things We Can Do
The Process Starts With Writing Your Personal NARRATIVE (that will include a majority of the content needed for your Presentence Report, plus your Allocution and Release/Reentry Plan, which the Judge will ask you, “what is your plan for the future – to not re-offend?), As You Prepare For,
YOUR PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW (PSI) – INVESTIGATION REPORT
THE PROBATION OFFICER – THE COURTS REPRESENTATIVE
Your legal team introduces themselves to your Probation Officer (PO).
I. Their goal is to learn the final “dictation date” (or the date by which the P.O. must complete their first draft of the official Presentence Report (PSR)).
II. Learn as much as they can about the judge’s likes and dislikes. If they are finding this hard, ask a Federal Defender.
III. If there is a current treating therapist, it is best for all if they appear as a witness, as most judges would rather hear from a treating physician, rather than a doc for hire. This is not to put down experts that can provide testimony that can only come from a select few.
IV. If you are having trouble finding an expert, ask the prosecutor whom they recommend – this can pay dividends on many levels.
V. Character Letters, only pick out a few to discuss in the memorandum, but add at the end that, “there were another 50 that all said the same thing and the PO has those.” If an employer is willing to write a character letter that says they are willing to try and rehire you due to your skills and character once you are released – that is a Great letter.
VI. When speaking with The Probation Officer, offer what you feel are the appropriate Sentencing Guidelines. Become familiar with the USSC Guidelines, as well as BOP placement Public Safety Factors and Management Variables so that you can converse with your attorney.
VII. In The Sentencing Memorandum, give the Judge 1 or 2 cases with the pertinent points highlighted, and if there is a video or pictures, including those.
10 Steps – Before the Presentence Interview (PSI):
This gives the legal team a timeline to work with:
1. A date that the forms that have to be completed,
2. A list of the documents that the PO requested,
3. The date for the Presentence Interview (PSI), with
4. The PO’s final “PSR dictation date”
This provides the time for your legal team to define their defense strategy,
- …to consider, what was their client’s behavior, and role in the offense,
- …are there any grounds for relief from the Guidelines?
- …to start framing reasons “why,” this prison placement request is being made (e.g., medical, programming, etc.).
5. The Probation Officer could indirectly become your advocate.
Counsel needs to learn who the PO will be, contact them before they have had a chance to speak with the Prosecutor, and build a fundamental introductory relationship in order to understand what the officer already knows, – which hopefully is not a lot!
- This offers the opportunity to explain your position, as the PO was not at trial, and therefore has not yet formed an opinion.
- If they have not yet spoken with the prosecutor, they still may have an open mind.
- If the PO had already spoken with the Prosecutor before they ever met/interviewed you – they may have already been influenced, just not in your favor.
- Your attorney’s goal is to make their case and position with a personal meeting.
- Meanwhile, you have begun writing your personal narrative which will undergo a dozen or so rewrites until it is distilled into its final version which you accept responsibility. It’s your story, a Unique and Honest version of the events that resulted in your arrest. Once complete your Personal Narrative is to be included in your Presentence Report. Then be ready should the Judge wish to speak with you at the Sentencing Hearing, and answer his/her questions, from the heart – honestly.
- When working with Probation Officers. a little extra effort goes a long way as they are very busy, doing their best, and never have enough time. They may actually appreciate your efforts in easing that portion of their workload.
- Consider presenting your entire view of the case, clearly in a letter to the PO, as soon as possible.
- If you feel the PO is receptive to a variance, this may be key to convincing the court to consider a sentence below the guideline range.
- Remember, that little bit of effort, is appreciated.
6. It is helpful to have the Probation Officer and Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) buy into your client’s behavior and role in the offense, before requesting relief from the Guidelines, and again, before the dictation date.
7. At the same time, provide the court with sentences that other judges have imposed in cases like yours, highlighting the relevant case law that supports your sentencing position, making it simpler for the judge to find clearly (this is likely old news to your attorney’s).
8. Over-crowding and staff shortages, if applicable, could affect your client’s access to their Programming Needs or other BOP Services that may be required.
9. Another avenue: 18 U.S.C. §3553(a)(2)(D) requires a sentencing court to consider the care needed for a client’s medical condition, which may support the cost-related (home confinement) argument.
- This is most apparent in cases of inmates/patients, properly diagnosed as being Long-Haulers or having Post-COVID since no prison or jail mission is prepared to provide this type of 24/7/365 care.
- This could be particularly significant considering the BOPs’ budgetary problems and overcrowding.
- The cost of incarceration should also be factored into whether a sentence is “greater than necessary.”
- Last are those, where appropriate, emphasizing to the court what the client would be doing if not incarcerated (i.e., working, supporting a family, paying taxes, and/or restitution).
10. The sentencing memorandum is best filed approximately seven days before the sentencing hearing,
- Corroborate the issue with the appropriate supporting documents, albeit a doctor’s letter/ report/ medical/treatment records, etc. Remember to document, document, document.
- All of this is preferably done under seal, via the Probation Office so that the information is appended to the PSR when given to the BOP.
For a personal, one-on-one call with me to discuss your current issue, or that of a loved one, give me a call (240.888.7778). If I am unable to answer, please leave me your name, number, and a brief message, as I personally make every effort to return all of my calls – that same day. Marc
We are not Attorneys, you need legal representation.
The Presentence Report Determines Your Future – So Preparation For Your Interview is Vital
- Judges use the PSR to determine the length of a sentence.
- The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) uses the same PSR for prison placement.
- The PSR is again used by Probation during Supervised Release.
- Lastly, this same PSR becomes a permanent part of your record and the Inmates Bible – It truly is the gift that keeps on giving