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presentence investigation reports

Developing a Pre-sentence Investigation Report – Interview Guide

Prepare a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) report guide for offender interviews. Using the information you have learned, develop questions that you would ask an offender if you were required by a criminal court to write a pre-sentence investigation report. Break the questions into categories that address certain aspects of the offender’s life, including family life, education, and work experience, as well as the nature of the offense and any previous criminal history. You may also want to ask about previous incarcerations and medical, psychological, or psychiatric treatment including medications, counseling, and institutionalizations.

Remember, you are providing the judge with a complete picture of this individual offender, and what may have caused him or her to break the law. You also want to tell the judge about the current criminal offense, so you need to ask the offender about the specifics of the incident. The judge is relying on the information you provide in the final report to determine sentencing and rehabilitative measures. It is up to you to ask the right questions and to elicit responses that provide an accurate depiction of the offender, how much of a threat the offender poses to society, and how best the offender can be rehabilitated or treated.

Write the paper in questionnaire form and include categories for each of the areas of interest. End each category with a brief paragraph (100 to 200 words) stating why the questions placed there are relevant and important to the final outcome of the report. Include a discussion of how a person’s culture can inform their beliefs of what is right and wrong. Conclude the report with a listing, and brief description, of the types of documents you will need to review in order to verify the information gathered through the questionnaire.


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