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Probation Reports: What we can learn from the most important’ documents in the criminal justice system

It’s probably the single most important document in the criminal justice system,” Macallair says. Roughly 90 percent of the time, judges follow the sentencing recommendation that’s contained in the probation department’s pre-sentence report.” But the report does far more than affect sentencing, Macallair says. It follows the defendant through the corrections system, dictating where and how they will be incarcerated and what services they will receive, drawing a kind of road map to rehabilitation. In Macallair’s words, it becomes a defining document” and one of paramount importance.