Hofe heads new team supervising sex offenders
Morgan County’s senior Probation Officer, Danielle Hofe, has added new duties to her workload – coordinator of a regional corps of probation officers dedicated solely to the intensive supervision of convicted sex offenders.
Hofe will oversee six specially-trained probation officers who will supervise roughly 40 offenders from Pendleton to Jefferson Counties.
The state launched the program in 2005 as part of the Child Protection Act. The state’s Supreme Court has rolled the program out, region by region, since then.
Morgan County is part of Region 1, which will kick off the intensive supervision on July 11. The six officers will be sworn in by the Supreme Court next week.
These officers will only supervise those convicted of sexual offenses and assigned to intensive supervision.
A judge can make the provision for extra supervision for anyone convicted of a sexual crime – whether it is sexual abuse by a custodian or sexual assault. Even someone who serves a sentence in the state penitentiary for a sexual offense might still be subject to post-release supervision, said Hofe.
For certain crimes, that supervision could be required for 25 years after an offender has completed their jail sentence.
Extra checks, 24/7
Officers will make at least four additional checks on each offender each week, on top of their normal probation check-in.
Probation officers can search an offender’s home, visit their workplace, verify their attendance at counseling sessions, and do spot checks to assure that offenders are abiding by the terms of their court-ordered supervision.
That can mean assuring the court that a sex offender is staying away from school areas, and avoiding contact with minors, if those are specific conditions from the court.
These checks can take place anytime — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If the officers see evidence of a violation, they have the authority to arrest the offender and advise their regular probation officer to request the offender be returned to jail.
An added resource
Judges in the local 23rd Circuit have been imposing the additional supervision since the law went into effect in 2005, Hofe said.
“Judges in our circuit began immediately utilizing that,”
The new corps of officers dedicated exclusively to supervision of sex offenders will relieve other probation officers of that added duty.
“We have such a heavy case load as it is. Even though we’re incredibly energetic in our duties, it can be taxing to achieve that maximum level of supervision for sex offenders,” said Hofe.
Now, the Eastern Panhandle can rely on an additional resource in providing the necessary supervision required for some offenders.
“It assures to the courts and the community that they are being held accountable for what they’ve done, and for what they’re supposed to be doing,” Hofe said.