Mayor Lea continues as member of Gov. Northam's parole board

ROANOKE, Va.- – The mayor of Roanoke will spend another four years as a member of the governor's administration. 

Gov. Ralph Northam reappointed Sherman Lea to the Virginia Parole Board on Friday. 

He was first appointed in 2014 by then Gov. Terry McCullife. 

He is one of five members statewide tasked with deciding if a prisoner can earn back their freedom. 

He covers southwest Virginia and Southside. Lea said he was honored that Gov. Northam has confidence in his decision-making skills and judgment.

"I interview those men and women who have been incarcerated for now way over 25 years and make a decision as to if they are granted parole. And there's a reason why they've been locked up for that period of time because most of their crimes are very very serious and hard-core type crimes," said Lea. 

Lea said most of the cases he presides over happened before 1995. That's because parole in Virginia was abolished that year.

Sherman P. Lea, Sr. has been reappointed to the Virginia Parole Board, where he has served since 2014. He previously served in the Virginia Department of Corrections for 35 years before retiring in January 2012. He began his corrections career as an institutional parole officer in Richmond and upon his retirement had achieved the position of Regional Administrator for the Western Region of Community Corrections.
Lea has been serving on the Roanoke City Council since 2004. He was elected Mayor in 2016 after serving as Vice Mayor from 2008 through 2010. Prior to being elected to the Roanoke City Council, he served as chairman of the Roanoke City School Board. Lea received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Virginia Union University. He attended the Graduate School of Urban Studies at Old Dominion University and received an Honorary Doctor Degree in Humane Letters.