Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services


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TITLE: Psi Introduction


It is the policy of this Department to follow the procedures for Pre-sentence Investigation Reports as outlines by the Code of Iowa Chapter 901.


A plea of guilty, a verdict of guilty, or a special verdict upon which a judgment of conviction is rendered for any public offense usually requires the Court to seek information about the Defendant relevant to the sentencing. For all Class "B," "C," or "D" Felonies, the Court is required by the Code of Iowa to order a Presentence Investigation (PSI) to be completed by the District. The Court may order Presentence Investigations for misdemeanor cases. The Iowa Board of Parole may request information on Class "A" Felons if they deem the Reception Report from the Iowa Medical Classification Center inadequate.

A Presentence Investigation is designed to provide pertinent information about the defendant so that the Court may understand the defendant's background and, thus, be better able to assess the potential success of various levels of sentencing and correctional programming.

The Code of Iowa directs investigation of the following areas through the Presentence Investigation: the defendant's characteristics, family and financial circumstances, needs, and potentialities, including the presence of any previously diagnosed mental disorder, criminal record, and social history, as well as the time the defendant has been in detention. Harm to the victim, the victim's immediate family, and the community is to be examined through a Victim Impact Statement given/sent to the victim. The defendant's potential as a candidate for a community service program is also included. Although the Code of Iowa also requires an examination of the circumstances of the offense, in preparing the Presentence Investigation, the Presentence Investigator to whom the investigation is assigned, proceeds with the knowledge of the guilty plea or verdict and does not attempt to review a case to the extent of examining the question of guilty or innocence.

Much information is gathered from local and state mental health or substance abuse agencies, law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, and other correctional agencies and institutions. Although many are required by the Code of Iowa to furnish criminal records and other records, Release of Information forms are signed by the Defendant whenever necessary for the District to obtain information from outside sources.

Occasionally, the Court will order a Pre-Plea Presentence Investigation to be initiated or completed prior to any plea of guilty or prior to a guilty verdict. Such investigations, when presented to the Court prior to the plea of finding of guilty, are phrased to omit any statements regarding guilt or innocence. Therefore, no recommendations are made in Pre-Plea Presentence Investigations.

Presentence Investigations include a recommendation for sentencing and program planning. The LSI-R and Jesness will also be completed at the presentence stage.

The Presentence Investigation Report is confidential. Confidentiality policy and procedures shall be followed to safeguard use of the Presentence Investigation Report for supervision purposes within the District. The Presentence Investigation can be given to a treatment agency upon referral by the District to said agency with the understanding that the Presentence Investigation Report must be returned to the District upon the termination or completion of treatment by the treatment agency. After submission to the Court, confidentiality of the Presentence Investigation Report becomes the responsibility of the Court, the Presentence Investigation is sealed by the Court, and access to the Report may be obtained only through Court Order, except for use by the District, a referral agency, or a state penal institution.

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