Humboldt County Approved for $20M to ‘Expand Jail Services’

Downey mk

Sheriff Mike Downey announced today that Humboldt County had approved to receive $20 million for a new jail facility. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey announced during a press conference today that Humboldt County has been approved for $20 million to expand the current Humboldt County Jail Facility. The Board of State and Community Corrections notified the Sheriff’s Office that their proposal had been approved and they would receive money allocated by the state authorized by the passage of State Senate bill 863 which was passed in June of 2014.

The new three story facility would be built on the southern portion of the gravel parking lot on the corner of K and 5th Streets adjacent to the courthouse and jail. The ground floor will be a parking structure with the other two floors allowing the Department of Probation, Mental Health, transitional and rehabilitative services to be offered in one building. Downey added that the total cost of the project would be $21.5 million with the county making up the difference.

jail 4 Downey was joined by Humboldt County Administrative Officer Phillip Smith-Hanes and Probation Division Director Shaun Brenneman. Supervisor Rex Bohn was also in attendance. The proposal was a collaborative effort between the Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department, DHHS, Public Works and the County Administrative Office. According to materials released at the press conference, the group came together to develop a plan for a one-stop-shop for its eligible AB 109 clientele. The facility will include in and out of custody components including Mental Health Services, Probation, and Program and Support Services.

The goal of the facility will be to help inmates and probationers reenter the community more productive and likely to succeed. Bohn added that the way the project was explained to him was, “They were not expanding the jail but expanding services.”

Downey also stated that the third floor would contain secured beds but that they would be a softer confinement with more freedom to help inmates transition out of the jail.

The estimated timeline for the project to be completed is three to five years, that would include the bid process and a design review by the state. Downey also stated that there would be an additional staffing need of 15-20 correctional officers, but that funding these positions had been planned and was actually required in the proposal.

Downey said, “This isn’t a quick fix, but it will move us forward.”

Plans of the facility below:


jail 2



  • Are you f===ing kidding. What a ginormus waste of resources. The people of this county who voted these clowns in deserve everything they won’t get.

  • Build a prison camp and stop releasing career criminals.

  • Enforcement is coming by 1000%
    Try and call their bluff.

  • Santa Clara Got 80 million what gives downey only 20 mil

  • We need more law enforcement here.We can’t get on top of all this crime wave,if we don’t have enforcement to get rid of them.and keep pushing and pushing.we won’t get rid of all of the crime,but 85%would be a improvement.the jail add on is nice,but that’s not solving any of.our problems.

  • I hate to say it. But I agree with the “WORK CAMP” idea. The harder you work the better you’ll be treated. LIFE CLASSES at night and work during the day. Reward good behavior and citizenship and don’t reward the negative. Earn as you go. Long term residency for SLOW LEARNERS!

  • The saddest part to me? Needing the grants in the first place.
    Funding used to come from the community. But over reach put an end to that.
    Between the war on pot, the war on poverty, the war on autonomy, the war on small businesses, the county nose dived seriously.
    Over reach is preventable.
    When locals can’t spend their money locally, the local is replaced by outside sourcing.
    Yet, the locals are blamed for not spending their funds locally.
    Interesting how this works.
    Locals could have built this decades ago, had they of not been suffocated by over reach.

  • Did i misunderstand something? Why is everyone in the comments section seem not to happy about this? My understanding is they are gonna build a bigger jail, and this is good because when it’s complete hopefully this will mean no more book and releasing anyone who didn’t murder somebody…Someone plz explain why this isn’t a good thing??

    • We already have more people incarcerated in this country than anywhere else in the world. We’re already a police state with people who have no business in jail in jail. It’s LONG past time all drugs were decriminalized and this money spent on programs to help addicts and low cost housing for those being shoved out of capitalism and also programs to get all the corruption out of the broken system. People terrified by all the crime in their neighborhoods tend to scream for more enforcement, more jobs for cops and security and prison guards, more hapless little guys getting shoved out of their futures by greedheads who dress better. We aren’t happy about this because it’s leading AWAY from getting back our country.

  • It sounds
    Like they are expanding the pretrial realease. So my guess is more book and realease not less

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *