CHARLESTON -– Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis will swear in six new probation officers on Nov. 9. They will join the ranks of West Virginia's specialized sex offender intensive supervision officers, or SOISOs.
The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. in the Supreme Court Chamber, located on the third floor of the East Wing of the Capitol. The officers will work in Region Three, which consists of Brooke, Ohio, Hancock, Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Pleasants, Ritchie, Doddridge, Wirt, and Wood counties.
The specialized officers work under provisions of the Child Protection Act of 2006 (House Bill 101, passed June 14, 2006). The law requires extended supervision for sexual offenders, especially those convicted of crimes against children.
The officers' only duty is to supervise sex offenders. They work out of their cars, not offices. They work holidays, nights, weekends, and hours in between to provide intensive supervision. The officers also work with circuit court judges and treatment providers to make sure offenders are complying with court orders. The extended supervision includes polygraph examinations and electronic monitoring.
The first group of sexual offender probation officers was hired in November 2008. The supervision program is being expanded one region at a time throughout the state. A total of 30 probation officers eventually will be hired to carry out provisions of the law. With the hiring of these officers, there are now 21 SOISO officers in 35 counties.
The SOISO program was developed under the leadership of Justice Robin Jean Davis when she was Chief Justice in 2006 and 2007. Her support was crucial in refining the vision of the supervision protocol. Her work was a continuation of her interest in protecting children in our communities during her "Year of the Child" in 2006 and "Year of the Child, Too" in 2007.