The Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PSR)

Any person that is going to be sentenced to prison should understand the importance of the presentence investigation report. Professionals that work in the judicial or prison system will refer to this report as both a PSI and a PSR.

The defense attorney should spend time helping a client understand the influence this report will have on the journey ahead. Unfortunately, many defense attorneys limit their focus on the sentencing experience. After all, people hire defense attorneys to assist them through judicial proceedings. When a judge sentences a person, the defense attorney may conclude that his work is complete.

But the PSR will have an influence long after the sentencing hearing. In fact, members of our team would argue that the PSR is more important after the sentencing hearing. A sentencing judge will have heard from the prosecutor and he may have reviewed the evidence. He may or may not rely upon the PSR when imposing the sentence.

Once a person goes into the prison system, on the other hand, the PSR takes on an entirely new meaning. The PSR is the primary document that prison staff will review:

  • When staff members assess where a person will serve his sentence, they will consult the PSR.
  • When staff members assess what type a job a person will have in prison, they will review the PSR.
  • When staff members assess what type of programs he can participate in, they will read through the PSR.
  • When staff members determine whether the person is eligible for early release from the drug program, they will consult what the PSR states about prior substance abuse.
  • When staff members assess whether the person should transfer to a halfway house or home confinement, they will look to the PSR as a guide.

People should understand that once they are in prison, staff members will not listen to or interact well with lawyers. Instead, they will consider the PSR when determining a person’s eligibility for specific programs, housing assignments, or work details. For that reason, consult an expert on the presentence investigation report. If the PSR needs an adjustment, the person must be proactive. Resolve this matter prior to sentencing. 

Download the presentence investigation report and watch the video above to get a better sense of this important document.