Presentence investigators are also considered officers of the court. The presentence investigator interviews the defendant and other individuals as appropriate. The investigator prepares a presentence investigation report that contains the information and makes a recommendation to the court about the type and severity of the sentence. Presentence investigators may attend different types of court hearings and may be called as expert witnesses to validate or to further substantiate information contained in their written report.
Presentence investigators receive training on interviewing, investigation and court report preparation. Presentence investigators typically attend additional training throughout their tenure to enhance assessment skills, interviewing techniques and other job related duties.
The presentence investigation consists of an interview with the defendant regarding a review of his or her criminal record, a review of the specific facts of the crime and a social history regarding education, employment, physical/mental health and community support systems. The presentence investigative report includes a victim impact statement and information gathered from collateral contacts. The presentence investigative report is a protected, confidential document disclosable only to the judge, prosecuting attorney, defense counsel and the defendant.