Evidence-Based Sentencing

2. Inform: Provide assessment results to the court

What does this involve?

The court and counsel will receive defendant assessment results from the assessing agency in some form. In many jurisdictions, assessment results are included in the presentence investigation (PSI) report. However, in lieu of a traditional PSI report, some jurisdictions elect to develop an alternate (and often more succinct) assessment report.

The specific content and format of the assessment report will vary across jurisdictions, but at minimum should provide information about the defendant’s overall level of risk and criminogenic and other needs. To ensure that the assessment information provided to the court is based on a validated instrument and has not been overridden by an agency without notice to the court and counsel, the report should also indicate (a) whether the assessment result(s) had been subject to an agency override and, if so, (b) the reason for the override. In some jurisdictions, PSI writers also include recommendations for risk management and reduction based on the offender’s risk, needs, and responsivity factors. These recommendations may address whether or not appropriate resources are available to effectively supervise the offender in the community and/or the specific supervision and treatment options available in the community that may be appropriate for use as part of the offender’s individual case plan.


In addition to Key NCSC Resources, see: