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Section 3: Lecture Content and Teaching Notes
Components of Supervision: Specialized Approaches to Managing Sex Offenders

3 hours

TOPIC: THE PRE-SENTENCE INVESTIGATION (PSI)
(5 minutes)

New Topic IconWHAT IS A PSI?

According to Georgia Cuming and Mareen Buell, "The pre-sentence investigation (PSI) is a report ordered by the judge after an offender has been found guilty by a jury or a judge [or has entered an Alford Plea], a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to the presenting charge(s). The purpose of this report is to provide information about the defendant to the court to assist in the disposition of the case. This report is generally prepared by the probation department."10

The PSI may be the first opportunity for the system—usually through the probation department—to consider thoroughly the implications of the offender's offense and background. It is an initial step in assessing the offender's risk and needs. It should provide basic information about—

  • Use Slide # SymbolUse Slide #7: The PSI Provides Information Regarding
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    The offender himself in terms of history, offense, and amenability to treatment;
  • The environment in which the offender might be supervised and the degree to which that environment might add to the offender's risk or assist in managing risk;
  • The trauma suffered by the victim in the course of the offense and, importantly for supervision, the ways in which victim safety can be assured through the court's disposition; and
  • The resources available to assist in effective management of the offender in the community (e.g., supervision capacity, availability of specialized treatment, the existence of the polygraph, or other supports).11

Use Slide # SymbolUse Slide #8: Pre-sentence Investigation Recommendations
[Click to Enlarge]
The court is probably looking for three essential recommendations from this information (although practice may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction). The PSI should be able to—

  • Provide some assessment of the level of risk that the offender presents to the community, including the risk to the victim or victims;
  • Assess the offender's amenability to specialized treatment; and
  • Outline any special supervision conditions that should be imposed to enhance the likelihood that the offender can be managed safely in the community.