A pre-sentence report is a report prepared by a probation officer for the purposes of sentencing an individual. Pre-sentence reports are not used in all cases. They are typically used in more serious cases or cases where the offender is facing a lengthy period of incarceration, though they can be requested in more minor cases as well. The purpose of the pre-sentence report is to provide the judge with an idea of who the offender is as a person outside of the offence they have committed.
Once an offender is found guilty of an offence, the presiding judge may order a pre-sentence report to assist them in the sentencing process. The sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later date to all time for the report to be prepared. The offender and the Crown may also request a pre-sentence report where the judge does not request one.
Prior to the sentencing hearing, the offender will meet with the probation officer assigned to prepare the report. The probation officer will discuss various topics with the offender and the information gathered will be used to draft the report.
The report will typically include information on the offender’s employment history, their childhood, family life, friends, issues with physical or mental health, ties to the community, future opportunities and plans, the offender’s level of remorse and/or insight into their crime, and anything else that may be relevant to the offender and their case.