skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 136369 Find in a Library
Title: Federal Probation Officer: Life Before and After Guideline Sentencing
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:55  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1991)  Pages:49-53
Author(s): J D Denzlinger; D E Miller
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the challenges faced by probation officers through an examination of the duties and tasks of presentence investigators prior to and after the implementation of Federal sentencing guidelines.
Abstract: Prior to passage of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 and the effective date of guideline sentencing, presentence reports prepared by probation officers were major sources of information on which courts based their sentences. Investigative efforts focused on traditional factors considered important in imposing sentences such as offense severity, harm to victims, offender motivation, prior criminal conduct, and offender social and personal history. Considered independent agents of the court, probation officers were encouraged to be the judge's "eyes and ears" for purposes of developing information for sentencing. The environment in which presentence investigators functioned fostered the preparation of reports compatible with the medical model of dealing with offenders and consistent with the broad discretionary authority and sentencing options enjoyed by the court. With the implementation of sentencing guidelines, discretionary sentencing was abandoned for a determinate model featuring fixed sentences without possibility of parole. To accommodate the sentencing process, the presentence format changed dramatically, primarily serving to record how facts are treated by the sentencing guidelines and to aid the court in making preliminary findings of fact. The probation officer's required knowledge base increased significantly and became considerably different from that required in the prior system. The probation officer now has to meet the challenges posed by the new sentencing model in the face of a resistant judiciary and defense bar and an increasing workload of presentence reports.
Main Term(s): Probation or parole officers; Sentencing guidelines
Index Term(s): Determinate Sentencing; Presentence investigations; Probation effectiveness; Sentencing factors
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.