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Probation and the pre-sentence report

Updated: Aug 1

A pre-sentence report (PSR) is an assessment of the factors that may have contributed to your behaviour, any risk you pose to others, what that ris is of, and to who. The report will provide the court with a greater understanding of the background and the context of the offending behaviour, rather than just the details of the offence.

For the Court to impose an appropriate and effective sentence, there needs to be an adequate amount of information about you, your offence and your personal circumstances.

The pre-sentence report (PSR) will be written by a Probation Officer, who will interview you, after your plea hearing, to assist the court in deciding between a community or custodial sentence.

A PSR must be as objective as possible and for this reason typically consists of:

An introduction and sources of information used to inform the report. This includes:

- The Crown Prosecution Service evidence - Information from other agencies such as Social Services - Mental health or psychology reports (if available) - Any relevant information that you want included such as the work you have already completed and changes you have made to address your behaviour.

An offence analysis. - A summary of the facts of the offence. - Your developed understanding of how and why you allowed yourself to offend. - An assessment of how you feel about what you have done. - Your understanding of the impact on child victims in indecent image and sexual communication offences.

'Offender' Assessment. - An assessment of your individual circumstances. - Any previous convictions you might have. - Evidence that demonstrates a reduction in the risk you present of reoffending.

Risk Assessments. The probation officer writing the PSR will also complete risk assessments to calculate your risk of re-offending and the risk of harm you present.

Conclusion and Proposal for Sentencing. The probation officer writing the PSR will summarise and discuss Court options for sentencing. It will include their own proposal for a sentence, including the combinations of 'Requirements' attached to any Community or Suspended Sentence Order.

Our Safer Lives practitioners have written hundreds of PSRs in their Probation careers. To better understand PSR interviews and the role of the Probation Service, feel free to contact us and book a consultation.

See also: Probation & the Pre-sentence Report - Part 2

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