The Presentence Investigation Report (PSR), which is prepared by a U.S. Probation Officer, is a comprehensive report that the Court uses to assist in the sentencing of federal offenders. During the presentence investigation, a U.S. Probation Officer makes a thorough inquiry into the circumstances of the offense, the offender's criminal background, and characteristics. The officer gathers information by conducting interviews, reviewing documents, and conducting collateral investigations. The PSR includes information regarding a defendant's family, education, employment, finances, physical and mental health, and alcohol/substance abuse. The probation officer may also conduct a home visit to assess the defendant's living conditions, family relationships, and community ties. Additionally, the U.S. Probation Office prepares reports in accordance with U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and provides the Court with an independent sentencing analysis.
Although the primary purpose of the presentence report is to assist the Court in its sentencing function, the report is also a valuable resource to the Bureau of Prisons. This includes determining which institution the offender will serve his/her sentence, select prison programs that are appropriate, and make release plans. The report is also used by the U.S. Probation Office to assist in the supervision of the offender upon his/her release from custody.
The U.S. Probation Office for the District of South Carolina conducts presentence investigations in nearly every felony case and is dedicated to providing the Court with an accurate and reliable sentencing tool.