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Purpose and Procedure

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The Presentence Investigation

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One of the topics reviewed in this module is the development and purpose of a PSI report in many criminal justice systems. Most long-form PSIs contain at least six main sections, which are as follows:

  • Part A – A description of the offense
  • Part B – The defendant’s criminal history (broken down into juvenile and adult)
  • Part C – Offender characteristics—includes subsections of personal and family data; physical condition; mental and emotional health; substance abuse; educational, vocational, and special skills; employment; and financial condition
  • Part D – Sentencing options
  • Part E – Circumstances for departure
  • Part F – Variance

This organizational structure highlights the critical components of a PSI. It also offers a good overview of the functions of a PSI.

Click here to read a sample PSI report.

On the basis of what you’ve learned in this module and using specific examples from the PSI (read the sample PSI), prepare a 4- to 5-page paper to address the following:

  • How does a PSI help the court to determine an appropriate sentencing decision?
  • How does a PSI impact possible probation and parole decisions?
  • How does a PSI help the court determine the sentence length and make recommendations for institutional placement?
  • How does a PSI help the criminal justice system make informed decisions regarding probation or parole supervision?
  • How might a PSI help the criminal justice system with treatment recommendations?
  • How does a PSI assist corrections personnel in:
    • Offender classification
    • Offender management
    • Treatment options
    • Release planning
  • How does a PSI assist the defendant and defense counsel?

Be sure to support your position with specific examples and to include information from each of the six parts of the PSI.


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