Once a defendant either enters a plea of guilty or is found guilty by jury trial, they enter the next phase of the judicial process--sentencing. Following the adjudication of guilt, the defendant will be interviewed by a U.S. Probation Officer in preparation for the completion of the presentence investigation report that is ordered by the Court. The U.S. Probation Officer will verify the information provided by the defendant (i.e., biographical, education, employment, medical history, drug and alcohol use, financial status, etc.). In addition to the social history information outlined above, the probation officer conducts an independent review of the facts underlying the offense of conviction and the defendant's criminal history. The primary purpose of the presentence investigation report is to assist the Court in fashioning an appropriate sentence. The report is also used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons for classification/designation and programming, and the U.S. Probation Office for post-conviction supervision.
Another important aspect of the presentence investigation report is the inclusion of restitution information in those cases where restitution is a consideration or required by law. This information includes identification of the victim(s) of the case and the precise amount of restitution that should be ordered by the Court. During the investigation into the financial status of the defendant, the probation officer will analyze the defendant's financial records and will recommend to the Court a repayment plan and any lump sum payments that can be made at the time of sentencing.