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Presentence Report

Purpose of the Presentence Report

Following a federal criminal conviction, each defendant will be interviewed by a United States Probation Officer for preparation of the presentence report. The Presentence Investigation Report’s primary purpose is to provide information that enables the court to impose a fair sentence that satisfies the punishment, deterrence, and corrective goals of sentencing. The United States Probation Officer prepares the report, which contains information about the offense, the impact of the offense on any victims and restitution owed, the defendant’s criminal history and personal characteristics, and applicable sentencing options under the federal sentencing guidelines. It also includes information about the defendant’s ability to pay fines. Because the presentence report is so crucial to the sentencing process, it must be accurate. It is of utmost importance that all information given by the defendant during this interview be accurate and truthful. The United States Probation Officer is an independent investigator for the court and is required to prepare a presentence investigation report in most criminal cases, pursuant to Rule 32 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

The presentence report is also utilized by the Bureau of Prisons in designating an appropriate institution for a defendant to be incarcerated, selecting prison programs to help the defendant, and assisting in future release plans. Further, the report assists the United States Probation Officer assigned to supervise the defendant upon his or her return to the community.