The PSR interview consists of meeting with the assigned probation officer for about two hours, and you have the right to have your attorney present during the interview. The probation officer will ask you about, among other things: your childhood, any abuse you have gone through, family members and their support of you, places you have lived, marriages, divorces, children, medical history, mental health, education, military service, any drug problems, your past arrests and convictions, any terms of probation or parole, and, about how you got involved in the offense.
Your probation officer will also ask you about how you’ve accepted responsibility for breaking the law. It is important to be aware that, in the federal system, defendants who do not clearly accept responsibility for their actions can receive harsher sentences than those who admit they broke the law, follow the rules of the Court, and continue to follow the law.
Your probation officer will also ask you about the assets you and your spouse own, any cash you have, and any debts you owe. This is because in some cases the Court is required to determine if you have the ability to pay a fine or, in some cases, restitution to victims. Restitution can be mandatory, and the financial information you provide will be used to determine monthly payments. Because of this, and because your officer will investigate and confirm the information you provide, it is very important you give truthful information about your financial situation. You may also be asked to provide documents such as, but not limited to, statements, deeds, and titles, which support the information you provide verbally, and on a variety of financial forms. Finally, you will be asked to sign a variety of release forms that will allow your officer to access government records, as well as educational, medical, psychiatric, and employment information about you.
After the PSR interview, Probation will conduct their independent investigation by reviewing all relevant records and reports from investigating agencies and conducting further interviews. All of this information, along with any corrections or objections, will be compiled in the final PSR.