Correctional Deputy Assaulted in Humboldt County Jail; Sheriff Honsal Blames Increasingly Violent Inmates Formerly Placed in State Prisons Being Incarcerated in County Jails

Sheriff Billy Honsal

Humboldt County Sheriff Billy Honsal [Photo by Oliver Cory]

“It has become more and more violent [in the jail] since AB 109,” explained Humboldt County Sheriff Billy Honsal during a press conference today about a recent assault by inmates on a Humboldt County Jail correctional officer. Two inmates allegedly lured Deputy Dillon Huffman into their cell and beat him as he tried to escape on Wednesday, August 9.

Honsal said the deputy was “a good local kid.” He stated, “Here is a guy who treats people with dignity and respect day in and day out and that he is assaulted by these guys– these thugs.”Assaults on correctional officers have skyrocketed in the County since Assembly Bill 109, the Prison Realignment Plan, was put in action in October of 2011, Honsal said. The bill had those convicted of certain types of crimes that formerly would have led to terms in state prison serve their terms in county jails instead.In 2012 there were five assaults on correctional officers in the Humboldt County Jail, he explained. In 2015, there were 36. This year there have been 22 assaults already, Honsal said.Inmate on inmate assaults have also gone up, he explained.

Honsal said he believes that the state of California bears some responsibility for the increasing violence.

He suggests that the government re-establish mental health facilities all over the state.  “When your jail is the biggest mental health treatment facility in the County, that’s a problem,” Honsal said. “So let’s try and help [the mentally ill] before they start doing criminal offenses….[The jail] is not a therapeutic environment.”

Having a place for the mentally ill would free up cell space for other criminal offenders. “We’re at our max pretty much right now,” he said.

Video of the entire press conference by Oliver Cory above.

Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office below. Please remember, the information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

On Wednesday August 9, 2017 at about 1920 hours, a correctional deputy Dillon Huffman was assigned to work in a Maximum Security Housing Unit. While conducting his routine cell checks on the 2nd tier he was lured into a cell which house two inmates, Lorence Bailey and Jonah Little.

When Deputy Huffman opened the cell door and partially stepped inside he was savagely attacked by the two inmates. As Deputy Huffman backed out of the cell and attempted to defend himself, the inmates began punching Huffman in the face and body. During the assault Deputy Huffman was able to broadcast enough radio traffic to alert other Correctional Deputies of the assault in progress. Deputy Huffman proceeded to fight for his life for approximately 34 seconds, until backup arrived.

Once responding deputies arrived in the housing unit both inmates immediately laid on the ground and surrendered. They were taken into secured custody where they face disciplinary hearing for their violent behavior. The Sheriff’s office will seek that both Baily and Little be charged with assault on a correctional deputy causing injury. Deputy Huffman was taken to St. Joseph Hospital where he was treated and released for numerous contusions and abrasions from the assault. Deputy Huffman is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.

Below are the names of the inmates, and what charges were filed with the District Attorney’s Office.

Bailey, Lorence Emmanuel PC 69 PC 182 PC 243 C (1) PC 1203.2 A (2) PC 12022.7 A PC 186.22 B (1) Current In-Custody Charges PC 187 (a) PC 12022 (b)(1) PC 12022.53 (d) PC 240/242 PC 240/242 PC 240/242

Little, Jonah Dale PC 69 PC 182 PC 243 C (1) PC 1203.2 A (2) PC 12022.7 A PC 186.22 B (1) Current In-Custody Charge PC 1203.2

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office.

William Honsal, SHERIFF Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office

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30 comments

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    Obviously, anyone assaulting the officers needs to go to Pelican Bay for indoctrination. Try them out at PB SHU or break them in up at Susanville.

    When they graduate from PB, we can sent them to Boalt… New Yorker 12/12/16

    • No more SHU’s in Cali. You can thank Jerry Brown for that too. Makes the prison yards more violent and decreases the punishment for violent offenses committed while in prison. It is the lack of consequences for the state of decay in California today. We all see it everyday. “You mean I don’t get in trouble for anything AND you’re going to pay me to be jobless without drug testing? Sign me up!” It is our new state motto.

    • The Sheriff seems to disagree with you, or didn’t you read?

  • Damn imagine the attitude that you would have to have to try to beat to death (don’t think for a second they would have stopped if guards hadn’t responded) a guard in your own jail cell, not giving a f##k.

  • Prison is where these guys LEARNED this behavior. Sending them back is unlikely to cure them. They are racking up cred. for when they go back, as they are surely destined to do.

  • I guess they cant say i didn’t sign up for this… Because they literally did. Obviously they need to take better precautions. “Lured into the cell?” How naive is this guy? Inmates aren’t your friends… They’re being held against their will. Whether its warranted or not varies case to case.

  • Fry those two bums, NOW!

    • No doubt Sparkleman! Can you imagine what a better place this world would be if we made all of these s hitbags ride the lightning?!!!

  • A good ole hanging after they get to go to their yoga class.

  • Glad the Deputy survived, and is expected to make a full recovery. Wonder whether those two thugs will be sent to a state prison after this violent assault…

  • The Deputy should not have been alone,go in pairs!! Glad he’s ok

  • I wonder what really happened. Experience says that the younger the Corrections Officer is, the cockier they seem to be. Not to mention young CO’ s tend to have little respect for inmates, nor do they care about taunting and harassing inmates, the Sheriff will try to blame the state, but it is the CO’s responsibility to be safe. I bet this CO was a cocky little shut and finally got what he had coming. It could be as simple as refusing to give inmates toilet paper to deciding to lock down inmates for no just reason. Most likely his ego got in the way of his professionalism, time to do away with the long sentences which lead to jail overcrowding…. bet the CO thought he was Barney bad ass until these inmates showed him otherwise…. time to free all the “pot inmates” and stop overcrowding HCJ with nonviolent cannafarmers…..

    • My thoughts exactly. Not justified but there inmates there in tbere for a reason 3 more months they made there point they got jail cred and if thats what happens which i guaruntee. Hes scared he gunna know these guys aint no bitch yea take my yard time mr bad ass wanna nother ass whoopin

    • Thinking allowed

      This comment points out the dilemma that society can never resolve with people who only see their own needs and insist on satisfying themselves before anything else. What can been done with a person who can not control their impulses?

      I’m sure that the are guards who get a kick out of petty (and maybe not so petty) tyranny over inmates because they have the power to do so. Just as there are inmates who constantly try to exercise petty power games against the guards who have power over them. It is in the nature of both to do so. Because, assuming the prisoner is not as innocent as a babe in arms, he got into jail in the first place by refusing to adapt to basic rules of society such as not taking others property, risking others lives by driving while impaired, using violence to salve their own egos, etc etc etc. If guards treated him with the respect he demands, the prisoner would abuse that too. Even to the point of murdering those in control of him in jail. Offensive people will offend whether treated well or not so playing nice with them won’t end well anyway.

      So back to the dilemma of how to treat people decently who are themselves indecent and ready to use decency as weapon to get what they want. Can preditory people be treated as if they were not preditory? Where does the best way lie and can it be expected that any human who has to deal with such not get jaded by it?

      Anyway the nonconforming criminal viewpoint has been expressed and is there an answer? Should there be an answer other than “If you can’t to the time, don’t do the crime?”

  • Because when reinforcements arrived, the two inmates “immediately laid on the ground and surrendered.”

    The guards are not allowed to administer a revenge beating and the inmates know that.

    So the sneaky little fuckers got their licks in when they had the advantage of surprise, and two against one, and then took themselves out of the fight once they were facing superior numbers.

    Legally, not much the system can do other than put them in a more secure setting, take away any privileges they had, and pursue charges for the assault.

    That’s the price of remaining civilized and adhering to the rule of law, even when the bad guys obviously don’t.

  • Should at least separate the two. Maybe careful selection of new roommates who don’t like their type of illegal business or competition?

  • I wish the world could just get along.

  • The state should be held responsible for the increase in violence statewide. Want to thank the governor and all the politicians living in their gated communities for keeping your constituents safe from violence and crime. This states judicial system is a joke

  • Those thugs were not from any prisons. First time to big time. Sheriff knows that but he has a point. Young ones thinking its smart to be violent. Life lessons are a pain.

  • Don’t blame the state blame the losers and the bad decisions they keep on making that got them there to began with I can’t believe he had the nerve to blame the people who give him his lively hood like oh I don’t know perhaps his mortgage and food and well life in general!
    Wow I guess liberals are really spreading they’re pathetic wings all over the place I hope they use them one day to fly away!

  • If you want to blame someone BLAME OBAMA he released a bunch of thugs to finish what they started so blame him he’s the real problem he hit the beehive and ran out of office!
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/10/5d/c8/105dc822ced1fe750b0b2dce8149cd68.gif

  • The abuse of power within the correctional system is as old as time. This officer that was assaulted is undoubtedly guilty of some sort of inhumane behavior that landed him in this predicament. Corrections officers treat prisoners like animals, and prisoners within the correctional become animals because of their environment they exist within. Jail is hell. The people that profit from jail, prison or any other kind of state mandated corrections sign up voluntarily to violently detain control imprison millions of non violent offenders. This system of “corrections” and “rehabilitation” is broken beyond hope of repair. You people think this CO isn’t guilty of equally henious violence? You are wrong. Every corrections officer uses violence as a tool to control the inmate population and get what they want. This situation is nothing short of karma working its magic. One can only hope that one day, Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions get to see what it feels like to look at life from the inside of a cage and the underside of a cops boot.

    • Thinking allowed

      Yes, I do think it likely that this guard was not sweet and forgiving. But the result could have been the same if he had been. Then again the guard has not gone outside the jail to abuse the public’s trust while the inmate almost certainly has.

      How can people who think only in terms of getting their own way without regard to the damage they do others be treated otherwise.

      Maybe ‘corrections and rehabilitation’ is not a guarantee but just an opportunity and a slim one at that. No one can be rehabbed if they don’t agree to the process anyway. And many apparently are never willing tolerate even that much conforming.

  • I find it fascinating how many here, with absolutely no first hand knowledge of either the officer or the inmates, or any other evidence other than what appears in this article, assume the officer (the victim), is abusive, cocky, unforgiving, and disrespectful.

    What’s up with that?

    As if gangbangers in a max unit would never attack an officer without provocation.

    What a sheltered world some must live in.

    • My thoughts exactly. I’m a victim of an assault that occurred behind the wall (not to boast, but aforementioned inmate was very, very, unsuccessful in his attempt). Throughout my 7 years as a Deputy/ Corrections Officer I’ve always treated inmates/ civilians with respect, keeping it firm, fair and consistent. Everything needs to be calculated, from basic conversations to tactical decisions. The inmate who assaulted me had just received his life sentence, so we chalked it up as him trying to gain some cred before getting shipped to state. Fortunately for me, unfortunately for him, he was not successful in his attempt. I won’t get into detail, since this is not the place nor do I find it professional to gloat. However, I will say that you can’t assume the Officer was “cocky” or “disrespectful” “abusing authority” towards the inmates. Sure, there are cowboys in our profession, who at times put themselves in bad situations. But theorizing and coming to the conclusion that the CO was a punk because he was assaulted is absolutely absurd.

  • I have worked in corrections half my life. I have walked the tier and can tell you without a doubt that corrections officers are often attacked though no fault of their own. Many times it simply because they are mad and you are there.

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