You can find this in blog post form at: Preemptive Steps: A defendant should compose a personal narrative before meeting with the probation officer that would explain, but not justify, their current circumstances. The defendant might take measures to establish any mitigating qualities that could help a probation officer or court get a favorable impression of his overall character. The defendant might seek out community members who could provide character references and verify the defendant’s contributions to the community. The defendant might compile a list of references to back up any extenuating circumstances that led to the conviction or demonstrate that the defendant is much more than his criminal record suggests. The defendant might keep track of their good deeds, included in the final P.S.I. report. The defendant might write a statement expressing regret and demonstrating their resolve to live as a law-abiding, productive citizen. The defendant can prepare his family and friends for the possibility that a federal probation officer will inquire about the defendant’s character unexpectedly and uncomfortably. The defendant can research alternative punishments and formulate a strategy or case to persuade the probation officer that it is feasible. For example, the defendant’s profile might be improved by participating in some form of activity that indicates his suitability for less severe punishment. If your sentence is for fraud, perhaps you volunteer at a fraud prevention organization to be convicted of drug trafficking. You can attend N.A. meetings or volunteer at a local drug rehab to see the damage your actions have caused your community and society as a whole. The defendant may draft an “alternative presentence investigation report,” which the defense counsel may submit to the court for review. Begin your preparations by acknowledging that we must live in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Although a defendant may be new to the criminal justice system, the federal probation officer in charge of the presentence inquiry is not.