[Listen] ‘Reducing Crime’ initiative supported by ‘Supervisors; Last week’s top stories

Humboldt Last Week is a way to hear highlights from Humboldt’s last week. Also available to download for later listening

With what many call the “revolving door” at the jail comes majority support from the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors for an initiative called the “Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act.”

“Serial property theft would mean a year in jail rather than probation — that’s a big one,” said Lost Coast Outpost reporter Ryan Burns.

The measure which is still in the signature gathering phase aims to reduce early release numbers for violent prisoners, make serial theft a felony, increase penalties for parole violations, and allow DNA collection in more cases among other things. It sounds great on paper if you’re not a criminal.

In an unexpected turn of events at a ‘Supervisors meeting last week retiring Chief Probation Officer Bill Damiano broke with many of his law enforcement peers as a skeptic of the initiative saying it could bog down already overcrowded jails and take money away from rehabbing the 95 percent of inmates that will inevitably be released. Damiano believes the good the initiative does can be achieved in other ways.

In the program, Lost Coast Outpost reporter Ryan Burns is interviewed about his coverage on the meeting and the nuances of the perspectives shared.

The interview begins at 11:42.  

Also covered

The loss of a local radio superstar, the McKinley statue gets us national coverage, an NFL-bound HSU alum reaches an internet milestone, a local MMA fighter goes pro, Sara Bareilles gets outstanding critical reviews for a live performance on NBC, Fortuna has a new interim City Manager, a North Coast News employee anonymously told KMUD they’re refusing to run Sinclair promos in response to a viral video, drug issues, crime updates, and more.


Prison bars, by Michael Coghlan. Wikipedia Commons

Facing ‘Supervisors, retiring Chief Probation Officer Bill Damiano and Sheriff Billy Honsal share different views. Photo: Ryan Burns



  • Build more jails, if they belong in jail there needs to be room, they shouldn’t get a pass and we shouldn’t have to suffer because there isn’t enough room. Can’t do the time don’t do the crime.

    • Not necessary, just make the the jails a more arduous experience for repeat offenders. No T.V., one visit a month, a month of good behavior to earn a mattress and a heated cell, no conversation with other inmates and a ten hour work day. I promise, the recidivism rate will decline; in a heartbeat.

      • Reducing the fuels in the forests would be great work for them.

        It’s good physical labor, requires teamwork, and builds commradary.

        It also could help the entire west coasts fire vulnerability.

        The convict crews that are already working with fire crews are how to do it. Now, how to expand that program?

        As far as your other ideas, I see nothing wrong with earning a good bed and creating incentives.

        Also, Anon Forests comment is true.
        Some crimes simply should not be crimes.

      • Anything but address the root(s) of these pervasive problems… Same.Old.Shit.

    • The United States has a crime rate below the international average, but incarcerates more of its people than any other country. Something is wrong with that; imprisoning people for extended lengths of time is not the only way to address the problem. I agree that criminals should receive some sort of punishment, but they should also be rehabilitated so they can become functioning members of society rather than marginalized to the point where crime is the easiest way for them to survive. That doesn’t fix the problem, but just ensures that it goes. Rehabilitation has been shown to work in other countries. To be sure, not everyone will want to change, but rehab has been shown to work by itself or in conjunction with time spent depending on the criminal.

      • With success rates almost in the single digits?

      • My rant...feeling better now.

        We may incarcerate more people because other countries penalties for crimes are more severe. You comitt murder and are sentenced to death, it happens, you don’t die of old age while filing a life time of appeals. You steal, you lose a hand. Some times you don’t go to jail, instead there is public flogging and stonings. Barbaric, yes but don’t compare our prison system to other countries when their justice is not simular to ours. They don’t have repeat offenders because they fear punishment.

        Other country’s jails are not like vacation time. Our jails are like “time out” corners. We take away punishment and treat prisoners better than they treated their victims. Bring back chain gangs and county work farms. Keep them busy and make the jails more self reliant and they won’t want to come back. They might even learn a trade. Quit coddling the criminal and make jail a punishment.

        Harsh and inhumane, yes but so is living in a society where we are held prisoners in our own communities afraid to go out because we will be robbed, raped, or harassed. Where we have to police our playgrounds and parks for needles before letting our children play. We are giving the criminal more rights and privileges than the average person following the rules of society.

      • Maybe we have that below average crime rate because we actually do incarcerate people?

        • It’s like many other things. A relatively small percentage of the population creates most of the crimes. Keeping them in prison has a disproportionately large effect on crime. Too bad for them but it simply is good for everyone else.

          In decades of talking to many people who did not stay out of trouble, they had one thing in common- they only talked about themselves and what others owed them. Exactly one person in the hundreds I interviewed over the years who were drug addicted or homeless or in jail ever said he had himself to blame. All the rest – every single one- exaggerated the responsibility of others in one way or another, even if the things they saw as the cause of their situation was something almost everyone had similarly experienced without following their path.

          In fact denial of responsibility for oneself was such a consistant factor that it must be a cause trying to pass itself off as an excuse. Just because such individuals are constantly deluded is no reason for society to be deluded too.

          • Good statement, Guest. Our criminal punishments have little effect on many criminals. And if incarcerated, jail is like a hotel with a gym, TV, medical care, 3 meals a day and basketball court, compared to being homeless. We treat criminals better than we treat our veterans. Fact – 68% of released criminals are rearrested within 3 years, and 77% are rearrested within 5 years. We have given criminals so many rights and benefits that many think they have the right to blame everyone and everything else for their actions. I would guess that about 80%-90% of people I read getting arrested, just on RHBB & LOCO, are 2-4 time offenders. Because of lenient consequences, criminals have found out that the crime is worth the risk.

            • They are not given any rights. They are only given privileges. Privileges can be taken away, just like benefits.

    • Don’t ever complain about tax increases

    • Criminals, quick, run to arcata, its sanctuary, ohh ur American, screw u.

  • I don’t understand how we can possibly reduce our prison population without reducing what we currently consider “crimes.”
    I actually have a neighbor, with whom I regularly visit, who considers it a prosecutable offense to raise children without Imaginary Friends, ie, gods.
    Dump the victimless crimes of personal choice, and we might make some progress in reducing our criminal populations.
    As a species, we have a some “growing up” to do.

    • Ok. List those victimless crime without doing the personal prejudice against religion nonsense. I mean real actions, not exaggerations, that cause no harm to anyone else but get a person sentenced in a real court.

      • Guest, here is just one list of ridiculous crimes, a quick Google search will show you literally hundreds if not thousands of ridiculous crimes.


      • The entire war on drugs was an epic failure by most regards.

        I don’t want to see meth heads everywhere or opioid epidemics, but here they are.

        It’s impossible to say the war on drugs hasn’t been a factor, if even only a contributing one.

        The stories of people serving years for grams of marijuana is well documented in many states since the 70’s and before.


        I once was cited for “posting in public” in Sebastopol. Of course I won in court.

        I was arrested twice as a youth in skateparks for “not wearing a helmet” after warnings.

        Further back I was cited for not wearing a helmet on a bicycle under 18 years.

        Shall I continue?

        • Ever serve any time in jail for these? Which was the point. Jail time for crime that did not hurt anyone. Punitive jailing for

          Being jailed for possession of an illegal substance is one that might be such a crime but I have never seen one. In every conviction I ever heard about personally, it was possession in conjunction with another crime like DUI or burglary or sales.

          Anyway, the allegation of incarceration for a victimless crime being eliminated and thus making room for “real crimes” is a fantasy. Almost all creating of laws are attempts to deal with things that are or lead to damage. These days you’d have to work really hard to make such a jerk of yourself that action is taken more than citing.

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    Obviously, mollycoddling offenders has resulted in the horrifying mess seen in Humboldt, and elsewhere in our society. Jailing people is expensive, but the presence of repeat offenders, and probationers in the general population, just causes the LEO’s to waste vast sums of time and money managing known offenders, which should be someone else’s job.

    Lawbreakers and, generally, criminals, need to be dealt with in a manner which will cause them to at least think about giving up their risky and antisocial lifestyles. A few minutes in jail, will not stop anyone.

    • I don’t think that is really possible by using the legal system. It is possible for society to have some effect by simply calling bad behavior out, holding the person responsible for their actions and expecting them to fix their own messes before it reaches the level of official action. No more “you don’t know what they are going through” amnesty for stupid and nasty behavior. No one ever “knows” the thoughts of another but they can surely say that an action was wrong and untolerable. If enough people say it, only the most resistant or stupid people will not pause in their career downwards to at least think about it.

      • Society has been calling people out for bad behavior since the start of time. It no longer works. We have a society that is lost in making excuses for others misbehavior and applauding bad behavior. Humboldt County prides it’s so called outlaw culture, our television media makes outlaws as heros, we glamorize breaking the law (Moonshiners, Breaking Bad, and even our reality shows promote bad behavior). We have a culture that feels it is entitled, it is always looking for an excuse for demanding something rather than working for it. It uses history as entitlement rather than learning from it. Our politicians are elected by mud slinging and distortion of facts rather than truth. It is not what you are doing now, it is what you did in the past. Forgive criminals for their past actions, but not society for past actions of their ancestors. No society can not fix itself if it won’t accept “responsibility” and continues to lost in “political correctness”.

  • Turn the jail into a rehab center, six months minimum. If you get picked up again and are still using your sentence is a year in County mandatory rehab.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    “Serial property theft would mean a year in jail rather than probation — that’s a big one,” said Lost Coast Outpost reporter Ryan Burns.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    Work Camp. You never learn a lesson by sitting and waiting for it.

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