GLENVILLE – Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman gave the commencement address to the graduating class at the West Virginia Corrections Academy.
The Basic Training Graduation class was the 223rd Division of Corrections class and the 103rd Regional Jail Authority class.
Kaufman, who has been a circuit judge for Kanawha County for 24 years, said the July 20 graduation ceremony was a rite of passage.
"Like the message of Cain and Abel from Genesis 4 in the Bible, you must ask yourself how it is that you keep or care for your fellow human beings," Kaufman said. "The story of Cain and Abel is relevant to all of us working in the criminal justice system."
Kaufman said Cain and Abel's story is relevant particularly for the graduates of the academy because keeping and caring for their brothers and sisters is their job and their charge.
"Keeping people is both literally and figuratively what you will do," Kaufman said. "In the literal sense, you will keep those outside of the correctional system safe, while also caring for the needs of those inside the system."
Kaufman said the graduates were needed now more than ever and that they will see a diverse population within the correctional system.
"All of these people will be depending on you to keep and to care for them," Kaufman said. "This is an awesome responsibility you have been entrusted with. Your job begins with keeping your brothers and sisters in the general public safe. Civilian society will be safer because of you."
The West Virginia Corrections Academy oversees the education of all of the Division of Corrections Regional Jail Authority and Division of Juvenile Services officers.
Graduates of the academy serve as correctional officers at the Anthony Correctional Center, Beckley Correctional Center, Denmar Correctional Center, Huttonsville Correctional Center, Martinsburg Correctional Center, Mt. Olive Correctional Complex, Northern Correctional Facility, Ohio County Correctional Center, Pruntytown Correctional Center and the Stevens Correctional Center.