What is The Presentence Report?


The Presentence Report (PSR), acts as your “referral” to The Federal Bureau of Prisons, regarding your,


Security Level Placement

Clinical Guidance (BOP.Gov),

Psychology Programs Participation(BOP P5330.11)

Then, Created By Congress In 2018:

Criminogenic Needs, Risk Assessment (BOP.Gov), Also Called:


EBRR ActivitiesPA Programs


For a No Obligation Free Consult Call Dr.Blatstein at: 240.888.7778, or by email. Dr. Blatstein answers and personally returns all of his calls.



The Process Starts With Preparing For


10 Steps – Before the Presentence Interview (PSI):

  1. Your legal team introduces themselves to your Probation Officer (PO).
  2. Part of their goal is to learn the final “dictation date” (or the date by which the P.O. has to complete their first draft of the official Presentence Report (PSR)).
  3. By this time your team will have: 
    • the forms that have to be filled out, along with a list of the documents that the PO requested, 
    • the date for the Presentence Interview (PSI), with the corresponding, 
    • “PSR dictation date” from the PO.
      • This provides the time for your legal team to define their defense strategy, including,
        1. what their client’s behavior and the role they had in the offense,
        2. any grounds for relief from the Guidelines that they may have, and
        3. should there be a prison placement request, this is the time to include the reasons, “why” this request is being made (e.g., medical, programming, etc).
  4. The Probation Officer could indirectly become your advocate.
    • Personal contact will help build rapport.
    • This offers the opportunity to explain your position, as the PO was not at trial, and therefore has not yet formed an opinion.
    • At this point they likely have not yet spoken with the prosecutor’s officers, therefore they still may have an open mind.
      • If not,  the PO will have already spoken with the Prosecutor before they ever met/interviewed you – and they may have already been influenced, just not in your favor.
    • With a personal meeting, your attorney can clearly make their case and position.
      • You could then draft a personal narrative (that I have explained elsewhere on the website), 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.
    • 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 effort does go a long way. 
  5. It is helpful to have the probation officer and the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) buy into your client’s behavior and role in the offense, along with any grounds for relief from the Guidelines, but again, before the dictation date.
  6. At the same time, it’s helpful to provide the court with sentences that other judges have imposed in cases similar to yours, highlighting the relevant case law that supports your sentencing position, making it simpler for the judge to clearly find.
  7. Over-crowding, if applicable, could affect your client’s access to their Programming Needs or other BOP Services that may be required.
  8. 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 could be particularly significant considering the BOPs’ budgetary problems and overcrowding.
    • 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).
      • The cost of incarceration should also be factored into whether a sentence is “greater than necessary.”
  9.  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.
  10. Requests for variances are now written as below or non-Guidelines.

For Defense Counsel, Additional Preparation May Require:

  1. Spending sufficient time with the defendant and their family and friends, to learn which §3553(a) factors could lead to a sentence outside the guideline range, or if they have limited time…may require,
  2. Enlisting a sentence mitigation expert to evaluate your client.

The Presentence Interview

When Redrafted – Becomes The Official 

Presentence Report

And Will Determine Your Future!


  • 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 recordIt truly is the gift that keeps on giving
 Call Dr.Blatstein at: 240.888.7778, or by email for a No Obligation Free Consult, he answers and personally returns all of his calls.