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Frequently asked questions for Probation & Pretrial

View Probation FAQs | View Pretrial FAQs

Probation FAQs

Can you tell me if someone is on supervision; and, if so, may I speak with the supervising officer about violations of law or supervision conditions?

We can only acknowledge what is considered public record. If it involves a violation of law, we will refer you to the appropriate probation officer or the appropriate law enforcement agency.


What is the difference between Probation, Parole, and Supervised Release?

Probation is a term of community supervision imposed by the Court in lieu of a prison sentence.

Parole is a period of community supervision imposed by the U.S. Parole Commission to be completed after release from a prison term. The U.S. Parole Commission’s jurisdiction is limited to offenders who committed offenses prior to November 1, 1987, and certain Washington D.C. offenders.

Supervised Release is a period of community supervision imposed by the Court to be completed after release from jail or prison sentence.

How can I get off of supervision early?

Title 18 U.S.C. 3564(c) and 3583(e)(1) permit the Court to terminate terms of probation in misdemeanor cases at any time, and terms of supervised release or probation in felony cases after the expiration of one year of supervision if such action is warranted by the conduct of an offender and is in the interest of justice. Early terminations are a rare occurrence and should not be expected.

Will my probation officer come to my home or workplace?

Yes. The USPO shall make both home and workplace visits to ensure compliance with condition of supervision and to assess your adjustment at home and in the community.

By what day of the month must my probation officer receive my written monthly report?

The written monthly report is due to the USPO by the fifth day of each month.

I have an urgent issue and my officer is not available. What should I do?

In the event you need immediate assistance and your supervision officer is unavailable, call the office and ask to speak to the duty officer.

What type of identification do I need when reporting to the probation office?

All persons entering the United States Courthouse must present a valid picture ID (this includes U.S. Probation issued ID card) and are required to pass through a magnetometer and have all belongings and packages subject to physical and/or x-ray examination. If an offender is reporting his/her release from an institution or community corrections center, please bring any release papers with you given by the institution.

What is a presentence report?

As ordered by the Court, a probation officer conducts a presentence investigation and submits a report to the Court prior to sentencing. The purpose of the report is to assist the Court in determining an appropriate sentence. It also serves to assist the probation officer in its supervision of the offender and to support the Bureau of Prisons with inmate designation, classification and release planning.
The probation officer independently investigates the specifics of the offense and the offender’s criminal background and personal characteristics. The probation officer conducts interviews with the offender, as well as significant others who can provide information about the offender. Interviews are also conducted with the prosecutor, victims, and investigating agents. Home visits are conducted to assess the offender’s living conditions. Information regarding familial relationships, education, employment, substance abuse, physical health, mental health, and financial condition is gathered.
After compiling this information, the probation officer preparing the presentence report makes recommendations regarding imprisonment, probation, supervised release, fines, and restitution. The officer also makes a recommendation regarding conditions of release.

How do I obtain a copy of my presentence report?

Presentence reports are confidential documents and will only be released to your attorney (who will share it with you), the prosecutor, the Court, and the Bureau of Prisons (if you are sentenced to imprisonment). Absent a court order, no other party is entitled to a copy.

How do I apply for a pardon?

The best information can be found on the Department of Justice Website: http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon/

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Pretrial FAQs

Can you tell me if someone is on supervision; and, if so, may I speak with the supervising officer about violations of law or supervision conditions?

We can only acknowledge what is considered public record. If it involves a violation of law, we will refer you to the appropriate supervising officer.

What is the difference between pretrial status and pretrial diversion?

When someone is under pretrial status, they have been charged with a federal criminal offense and will be involved in the court process until final disposition of the case. When someone has been accepted into the pretrial diversion program, prosecution is deferred for a defined period of time, usually between 12 to 18 months. If they have successfully completed the diversion program, no formal charges are filed.

Will my supervising officer come to my home or workplace?

Yes. The supervising officer may make both home and workplace visits to ensure compliance with conditions of release and to assess your adjustment at home and in the community.

What type of identification do I need when reporting to the probation office?

All persons entering the United States Courthouse must present a valid picture ID (this includes U. S. Probation issued ID card) and are required to pass through a magnetometer and have all belongings and packages subject to physical and/or x-ray examination.

What is a pretrial report?

A pretrial report is the result of a background investigation conducted for the court when an individual has been charged with a federal criminal offense. The information contained in this report is used by a judicial officer to determine if bond is appropriate based upon the bail laws and, if so, what type of bond and conditions of release may be appropriate for each individual defendant.

Can I attend a court hearing?

Yes, court hearings are open to the public.

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