Man driving in deadly DUI crash apologizes
One was the mother of Calvin Jackson Jr., a 22-year-old man killed in a March 7, 2007, wreck on Manchester Expressway.
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#1 Oct 9, 2008
A presentence investigation report (PSI) is a legal term referring to the investigation into the history of person convicted of a crime before sentencing to determine if there are extenuating circumstances which should ameliorate the sentence or a history of criminal behavior to increase the harshness of the sentence.
The reports trace their origins to the efforts of prison reformer John Augustus who in the 1840s began a campaign to allow discretion in sentencing to help those who were deemed undeserving of harsh sentences and could be reformed.
The practice became firmly entrenched in the 1920s under a theory that crime was a pathology that could be diagnosed and treated like a disease.
The reports had normally been prepared by the government (usually by the probation officer) but in the 1970s and 1980s, defense attorneys began also preparing the reports. This in turn has led to new laws taking away judge discretion and imposing mandatory sentences based on formulas of previous criminal behavior.
The basic information now includes:
substance abuse/use and any mental health history
arrest record, including any prior or pending cases (non-public record)
additional information deemed relevant by the probation officer or the defendant
The report is immediately to help the court determine an appropriate sentence and also serves other purposes. Since the advent of the sentencing guidelines, the importance of the presentence report has increased because the document is now designed to frame factual and legal issues for sentencing. Thereafter, if a defendant is incarcerated, the Bureau of Prisons or State Department of Corrections will use information in the report to designate the institution where the offender will serve the sentence and determine the offender's eligibility or need for specific correctional programs. Also, depending on the jurisdiction, the presentence report can be used to calculate the release date. The probation officer assigned responsibility for the offender's case during probation and supervised release will use the report to make an initial assessment of case needs and risks. Additionally, the report may be used as a source of information for future research.
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