If you are are facing criminal charges, a psychologist can help you by preparing a pre sentence report, to be provided to the court at the time of sentencing.
The purpose is to provide a professional opinion on the client. A pre sentence report can be requested by the client, lawyers, the court (a judge or magistrate) or youth justice.
The Pre Sentence Report Process
In order to prepare the report, a psychologist will interview the client on at least one occasion but usually more than once. The psychologist will want to review information on the charges, as well as any documents about previous mental health history or assessments. The psychologist may also want to interview other significant people in the client’s life. As well as interviews, the psychologist may complete psychological assessments with the client.
After gathering all this data, the psychologist will interpret their assessments and write a report that will be provided to the court.
What does a Pre Sentence Report Contain?
The pre sentence report will usually contain information gathered during interviews on a client’s history, any assessment scores, current functioning, any current mental health concerns and suggestions for treatment. The report is not an argumentative report and cannot make suggestions on a sentence for the client.
The benefit of a pre sentence report is that it can place the offending that has occurred in the broader context of the client’s life, as well as make suggestions on what treatment options may be beneficial in potentially reduce the risk of re-offending.
The benefit for the client is that they will have the opportunity to tell their story, receive feedback on any potential mental health disorders and recommendations for future treatment.
If you would like to discuss the options of a pre sentence report please call our clinic and make an initial appointment. The amount of time a psychologist invests in preparing these reports is considerable and therefore they can be expensive. Sometimes this cost can be covered by other institutions. These reports usually take a minimum of six weeks to prepare; in extraordinary circumstances they could be completed sooner.
Author: Laura Fleming, BA, BSc, Grad Dip Psych, M Psych (Forensic).
Laura Fleming is a psychologist who has provided treatment and assessment reports (including pre sentence reports) for clients across the life span, although she has a special interest in adolescents and young adults. Her goal as a Forensic Psychologist is to assist her clients to gain an understanding of why this is occurring currently in respect to their life story, and to help them to develop goals to live a full life.
To make an appointment with Forensic Psychologist Laura Fleming, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.