Your Personal Narrative | PSI Investigation Report

Your Personal Narrative | PSI Investigation Report

Your Personal Narrative


The Presentence Interview Investigation Report

I want to start by saying that I only wish that my attorney had the insight to impart to me all of the knowledge that I have picked up before, during, and after my time in the BOP.

So, let’s get started;

Your Personal Narrative is your chance to speak directly to the Judge. We will start this exercise in written format.  I’d like to suggest that when I write, it usually takes 3-4 drafts until I feel that it’s ready, and then I ask those close to me to proofread it. If they too agree that it’s ready, off it goes. The length is up to you, but it needs to start overly complete, the longer – the better.

This is Your Life – please take this seriously…

Each of these category questions is meant to be thought-provoking, and possibly painful – which is all good. Be introspective, confer with those close to you and of course your attorney.

Everything you say must be true and from the heart, for a few reasons: a) You need to believe it, or doing this has no value, b) If the Judge believes you, and then starts a conversation with you – then, coming to the conclusion that someone else wrote this, well you now have a BIGGER problem, and c) last, Probation will be the first to see this, and as their job is to make recommendations to the Judge, if they don’t believe you, well… you guessed it!

 Topic Categories:

  1. Express remorse for the victim(s), understanding their pain, and suffering, and how it has impacted them. 
  2. Agree with the court as to the seriousness of the crime, without minimizing it. Expand on this topic
  3. What in your life brought you to this moment, what happened that caused you to do this?
  4. You can expand on this, with salient points from your childhood, while,
    • Get feedback from a consultant, attorney, or someone with this skill
    • If there was a “trigger,” what was that trigger, and how do you remove it from your life?
    • And don’t hand in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or even 5th draft; really, 
    • It will be a slow start, but when complete, you will be a different person, with a unique Personal Narrative – Story to tell directly to the Judge.
    • It is now Your Story, Unique and Honest.
  5. What has this experience taught you? Did it bring up moments from your past?
  6. Explain to the Judge that you have a plan (ONLY IF YOU DO) to start making this right with those you have victimized – or if you have already started – what are they, no matter how small those efforts have been? 
  7. What is your plan to never re-offend, and you will NEVER Be Back Again In Their Courtroom?
  8. 18 U.S. Code § 3553 – Imposition of a Sentence, Include,
    • The Nature and Circumstances of the Offense
    • The History and Characteristics of the Defendant
  9. Let the Judge know you feel financially responsible and want to make amends. If you can, bring some money with you ($100 or $1000), and let the court know that:
    • I know this is not much, but here is $xxx.00 that I want to submit to the court.
    • I want the court to also know that I have a plan for a job when I get home, and then I will be able to start the Financial Responsibility Program.
    • I hear that The FRP is already being included in Judge’s Orders, ($25/Qt)
      • This may not be an option:
        • As I will have little to no income in prison, I understand that not participating in the Financial Responsibility Program (FRP) in prison, may keep me from participating in other programs – and could be held against me keeping me from returning home early to begin to make amends to myself, family and to those, I have harmed.

Cases that judges find most challenging. If you fall into either of these two categories, the plan we have covered still applies, but with a caveat.
1. Predatory child sex offenders who have harmed children, If you fall into this category – You will be strictly monitored once released.

2. White-collar criminals who have harmed vulnerable people. If you fall into this category – once off supervised release, you are smart enough to know that, you do not want to return.


 The Presentence Interview Investigation Report

can be aided by

Your Personal Narrative

While I previously mentioned that it could be started in written format, it could also be made available in

  • video MP4 format and placed in a flash drive so that the judge could easily see it the week before (optimal timing) sentencing.
  • This you could work out with your attorney, using either PowerPoint or simply using a smartphone.

This brings me to my last point, which is The Presentence Interview (PSI) – Investigation Report.

  • As early as possible after your conviction, your attorney should reach out to the Probation Officer assigned to your case. 
  • At this point they likely have not yet spoken with the prosecutor, therefore they still may have an open mind.
  • Without this call, the PO may have already spoken with the Prosecutor before they ever met/interviewed you – and they may have already been influenced, just not in your favor.
  • Once they are talking, the goal is to learn from her/him, the date that was most convenient for them to do the interview, and then learn when the “due date” was for the preliminary Presentence Report needed to be turned in.

With a personal meeting, your attorney can clearly make their case and position.

  • You can then use your personal narrative, making it available in writing, and/or video format for the PO and eventually the judge.

Generally speaking, when working with the probation officer, a little extra effort goes a long way.

  • 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.
  • Consider presenting your entire view of the case, clearly in a letter to the PO as soon as possible – getting your message “on the record”.
  • As Probation Officers are very busy, doing their best, and never have enough time, they may actually appreciate your efforts in easing a portion of their workload,
  • Remember, a little thoughtful effort does go a long way


Call Dr.Blatstein at: 240.888.7778, or by email for a No Obligation Free Consult, I return all of my calls, personally.

Dr. M Blatstein

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