What Is Presentence Investigation?

The presentence investigation is conducted when a person enters a guilty plea or receives a guilty verdict following  a trial.  Investigations include interviews with the defendant, family members, employers, and law enforcement officials to gather and/or verify background information.  During this process, probation officers review court, school, military, financial, and employment records.  The officer uses the information gathered to assess the offender's living conditions, family relationships, community ties, and drug use.  Based on their investigations, officers prepare reports that the court relies on to make informed release decisions and choose fair sentences.

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