CHARLESTON, W.Va. - To keep up with the growing number of sex offenders being released from jail, the state Supreme Court swore in eight new officers charged with supervising the parolees.
Three new supervisory positions were created, and five vacated positions were filled during the swearing-in ceremony Wednesday.
Chief Justice Brent Benjamin swore the officers in. They are: Benjamin Ahmed, Monica Brown, James Conley, Jeffrey Carter, Javan Eary, Jennifer Lester, Brian Moore and Travis Roberts.
Five of the officers --- Brown, Conley, Eary, Moore and Roberts--- have worked for probation services since last year and are replacing officers who have resigned, said Caren Bills, deputy director of probation services. Ahmed, Carter and Lester are new to the program and are being placed in regions with growing populations of sex offenders.
They will work for the state Division of Probation Services' Intensive Supervision Unit.
The number of offenders being released from prison is on the rise as many of those who were sentenced for five- to 10-years in 2008 or 2009 are beginning to be released, said Bills, who oversees the unit.
The unit has more than 400 adult and juvenile sex offenders under its supervision. Judges assign offenders to the unit when they feel they need more supervision upon release.
Some will be under the unit's watch for 25 years, Bills said. The maximum is 50 years.
The unit began in 2008 and is allocated $2.7 million each year by the Child Protection Act of 2006. The unit has 35 intense supervision officers across the state. The state is broken up into six regions and each one has five or six supervision officers.