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Presentence Investigation Report (PSI) Critical Thinking Exercise

The first part is a scenario to address.  The second half of the assignment has 2 additional short answer questions to respond. 

Part I:  This essay is a critical thinking exercise. Do not read into this!  Just base your decision(s) on the information that you have.  There is no one right or wrong response but you will be graded on your knowledge of correctional treatment, their options, supportive input, and logical reasoning.

Instructions:  After reading this scenario, assume you are before Judge Judy.  Judge Judy likes things brief. So keeping that in mind:

A.   Prepare and write a PSI review.  What would be the highlights of this scenario that you would tell the judge that would cover the core categories? 

B.   What information is pertinent that would give a good description of the client that would benefit an appropriate sentencing?  Remember to be brief in your comments to the judge, but also relay to her the PSI core categories information.

C.   What sentence would you recommend to the judge? If you recommend jail time or probation, list an additional intermediate punishment/sanction appropriate to the offender. Explain your response.

Case Scenario:

1. You are a probation officer assigned to the case of Joe, a 21 year old man convicted of burglary from a business during the nighttime. Joe admitted to and was convicted of breaking into the City Liquors And Smokes and stealing cash from the register, and several cases of beer. Joe was quickly apprehended and during his arrest, police found a switchblade in Joe’s pocket.  As a teenager, Joe already had a long history of juvenile offenses. His delinquency included truancy, shoplifting, possession of weapons (knives), and marijuana and alcohol possession and consumption. He frequently got into fights while in high school and he was known as a bully. As a juvenile, Joe spent a total of some 10 days in a juvenile facility. For the most part, when in trouble with the law, Joe received probation that included mandatory drug treatment. 

Now an adult, Joe did not stop his criminal behavior. At age 19 he served 30 days in jail for drug possession and shoplifting. His current offense is the burglary and theft. 

When you compiled Joe’s PSI, you discovered that Joe grew up in a two-parent household in which there was constant domestic abuse. His parents are now unavailable because his father abandoned the family years ago and his mother is currently undergoing inpatient treatment at a local drug clinic.  Joe currently lives with his girlfriend who is 4 months pregnant. Joe has a G.E.D. and minimal employment skills. At the time of his current arrest, Joe was unemployed. The only jobs he had are those of unskilled labor. His work history is scant and often Joe was fired from jobs due to tardiness.  Joe reports that he is in good health and there is no reported history of out-patient or in-patient treatment for psychological or emotional disorders. He admits to being a heavy alcohol drinker and occasionally smokes marijuana. After compiling information for the PSI, you believe that Joe has a severe alcohol addiction and limited education/skills to obtain steady employment.  You must now make a decision about Joe. What mode of correctional treatment, intermediate sanction, or sentence would you choose and why?  Remember to address Judge Judy’s questions as written in the instructions.

Part II:  On the following questions, please provide a short response.

2.  When ordering probation, the court imposes general conditions to follow.  Often, the probationer may also be told to follow specific conditions.  What is the difference between general and specific conditions of probation?

3.  What is Tourniquet Sentencing?

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