Skip to main content

Sentencing Service Program

Offering expert consultation and assistance on developing individualized sentencing strategies that incorporate the most effective research supported approaches to reducing future criminality.

Sentencing Service Program (SSP) staff members are qualified experts on juvenile and adult criminal justice issues in both state and federal courts.

Our Services

Emily Luhrs writes up a report on best practices

Photo by Willy Johnson | breakbeatbilly.com

SSP provides sentencing, fitness, and disposition reports for individuals facing criminal sanctions. Staff members prepare reports using information gathered from defendants as well as their families, friends, teachers, colleagues, and other supporters. In addition to placement recommendations, the reports include the client’s extensive social history, family system, and educational or vocational goals. The reports provide counsel, the court, and probation with a more complete picture of the defendant, and offer information that may have been neglected throughout the institutional process.

In capital punishment mitigation, SSP staff analyze the impact of institutionalization on individuals facing post-conviction sentencing, pretrial determination of death penalty eligibility, or who are on appeal. The staff prepare a comprehensive evaluation for presentation that examines the defendant’s involvement in the juvenile and adult justice systems, with specific analysis of any institutional commitments. This information may also prove useful for the defense counsel during the guilt phase.

SSP staff also provide expert testimony on the current and historic conditions of California's Division of Juvenile Facilities and on best practice alternatives at the local level. Visit Juvenile Corrections Reform in California for more information.

Agencies seeking individualized sentencing reports for adult and juvenile cases can contract with CJCJ on a case-by-case basis. For more information or to refer a case, please contact Nisha Ajmani at (415) 621-5661 x. 106 or ssp@cjcj.org.

"I have practiced juvenile delinquency defense in a semi-rural area for almost 25 years. Our geographic isolation often leaves us out of the loop concerning development in juvenile justice. I have come to rely more and more upon the experts at CJCJ. Their written work is persuasive and well-supported, their contacts are expansive, their strategies are sound, and their fees are reasonable. Best of all, they are held in high regard by most courts. I highly recommend them to any defender facing a tough or seemingly hopeless case."

~ Attorney Kevin McReynolds

Updated in 2012, the Juvenile Placement Manual contains information on approximately 150 residential placement options for justice-involved youth, highlighting location, gender, number of beds, services offered, aftercare components, rate classification and programs for youth with specific needs.

To order: Please e-mail ssp@cjcj.org with your contact information and the number of manuals desired. An invoice will be sent with the manual(s) to the mailing address provided. Each manual costs $30 (shipping included) per bound copy. The price of this item includes sales tax reimbursement computed to the nearest mill. Mail checks made out to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice to:

CJCJ Attn: SSP
40 Boardman Place
San Francisco, CA 94103.

History

Dr. Thomas Gitchoff, Ph.D., a prominent criminologist at San Diego State University, pioneered privately commissioned pre-sentence investigation during the 1970s. Dr. Gitchoff sought to improve the quality of the presentence investigation by offering a comprehensive analysis of the offender’s background along with an individualized sentencing recommendation designed to reduce potential recidivism. Dr. Gitchoff’s Criminological Case Evaluation and Sentencing Recommendation set the standard for presentence investigations in California courts for nearly 3 decades.    

To learn more about PSI read The History of the Pre-sentence Investigation Report.

In 1985, the Western Regional office of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA), established the Sentencing Service Program and began developing individualized sentencing reports upon special request from judges, defense counsel, probation staff, or prosecutors. In 1991, CJCJ continued SSP operations. SSP has conducted over 1,000 individualized social history investigations, resulting in expert reports and testimony throughout California’s 58 counties, and across the nation, including Arizona, Hawai’i, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oregon.

Nisha Ajmani, Policy and Program Specialist
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
40 Boardman Place
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: (415) 621-5661 ext. 106
Fax: (415) 621-5466
ssp@cjcj.org

California Stentencing Institute screenshot

California Sentencing
Institute (CASI)

Explore how California’s 58 counties send their residents to correctional institutions with interactive maps, charts, and downloadable data.

Connect with us

      YouTube

Contribute to CJCJ

Make a difference to youth and adults trying to get their lives back on track.

Join our mailing list

Get regular updates and news delivered to your inbox. We won’t share your information with anyone else.