When a defendant is judged to be guilty and is convicted of the offense which he or she committed, the convict is not immediately given a sentence. It is necessary for the sentence to be commensurate and must not just consider the nature of the crime but also the nature of the individual. This means that an investigation is done in order to ascertain the circumstances upon which the crime was committed, the history of the person, and other pertinent information, which will serve as the basis for the sentencing. The findings retrieved form such an investigation is submitted in a pre-sentence report.
A pre-sentence report is crucial in that it assists the judge in providing a sentence that will address the crime and the offender. Such a report provides the judge with information as to the dangerous nature of the criminal, the possibility of rehabilitation, the likelihood of a criminal relapse, and so forth.
This document is done by an officer authorized by the court of law. This officer is usually from a corrections facility and conducts the investigation that will eventually produce a pre-sentence report. The report may include past criminal offenses, psychological history, other medical records, marital status, social involvement, religious affiliation, and financial matters. The pre-sentence report also includes vital information provided by the court trial as well as a victim impact statement. The statement comes from the victim or the victim’s family and elaborates how the crime has affected him or her and what long-term consequences he or she must deal with.