Presentence Investigation Report Essay

Free Presentence Investigation Report Essay:

Speaking about the presentence investigation report, it is necessary to point out that it is considered to be among the most important documents in the criminal justice field since it is the central source of information to sentencing judges. It is necessary to underline that its original purposes was to provide information to the court on the defendant’s personal history and criminal conduct in order to promote individualized sentencing. However, in the course of time, with the advent of punitive sentencing policies in recent years, the presentence investigation report has become more offense focused and less individualized that is actually the major problem of this component of American criminal justice system. It should be said that presentence investigation report should provide judges with detailed information about the offender in order to better learn his personality and the crime committed. As a result, it will be possible to sentence the offender in respect to his crime and taking into consideration his personality. In such a way, it would be possible to use sentencing more effectively since the proper use of the presentence investigation report could make it possible to find an individual approach to each offender and his/her particular case. Moreover, the knowledge of the offender’s background, inclinations, causes of crime, etc. would help judges better understand the extent to which the offender is guilty and select the punishment that could perfectly match his personality. Practically, it means that some offenders may need strict punishment while others may need les strict sentence, instead, the participation in some probation program may be even more effective to them than any term in jail, for instance.

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As for the victim impact statement, it is necessary to point out that it basically targets at the granting the victim an opportunity to provide information for the judge to consider at the sentencing. Obviously, it is really important because the judge receives essential information not from an offender or witnesses but also from the victim in direct that means that the judge can make a decision on the basis of the information received from the person that was directly involved into the crime, being its victim. Consequently, this information is simply essential for the objective sentencing.

At the same time, it is worthy of mention that along with the information that victims can provide for judges, the victim impact statement also allows the victim to articulate the pain, anguish and financial devastation the crime has caused. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that currently judges as well as other criminal justice system personnel have little opportunity to communicate how the crime affected the victim. In such a situation, the victim impact statement provides the court with the essential data which leads to appropriate sentences and suitable restitution. Thus, it is possible to say that the victim impact statement contributes to higher objectivity and justice of the sentences and restitution.

Another important problem the justice system faces is the effectiveness of probation. In fact, the probation is administered on different levels, including county and state level. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Basically, it should be said that on the county level the probation is more oriented on the needs of offender in the communitarian context. In other words, on the country level, it is possible to use the positive impact of community on offenders more effectively, while on the state level, there exists a substantial gap between the need and specificity of local communities and the probation programs oriented on the community correction of offenders. On the other hand, on the state level, probation programs have better funding and larger opportunities to establish thorough control over the larger number of offenders.

At the same time, it is necessary to underline that the quality of supervision provided by the probation agency may be of a paramount importance to the granting of probation because it is evident that the supervision should target at the change of the behavior and lifestyle of offenders and not their exclusion from society. This is why the supervision should rather assist offenders to get integrated in the community than to provide surveillance and total control. Also there are other important factors affecting the granting of probation, among which the personality and behavior of an offender are of the utmost importance because it is due to his/her treats of character, psychology, internal inclinations, past experience and current behavior and lifestyle it is possible to define the extent to which this offender can be socially dangerous.

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