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Denied; Grant for Humboldt County's $20 million jail expansion

EUREKA- The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has been denied an appeal that would secure millions for a jail expansion project. The plan would provide the county with more space and rehabilitation services for inmates.

The $17.5 million dollar grant would bring probation and mental health services to one central location that would be attached to the existing jail. The space would provide 40 extra bed spaces to be used for prison work crews and would help the county deal with the larger population of inmates after realignment.

The Board of State and Community Corrections listened to Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey's appeal to their decision in Sacramento on Tuesday. Downey said the county was not awarded the funds for the project based on a technicality.

"This is exactly what we wanted to do, is expand our existing facilities, and this grant would have done just that," he said.

The grant, made available to counties under State Senate Bill 1022, required the recipients of the grant to have ten percent of the funding met by the county. The Board of Supervisors approved the funding and set it aside, but the board disagreed said Downey. The jail was advised that the funds needed to be placed in an SB 1022 specific account.

The Department of Finance informed them, Downey said, but not give them enough time to respond to the request. "The match we felt was secured," he said.

Counties that were denied the grant were allowed to appeal to the board to get back funding. Three appealed, Monterey, Stanislaus and Humboldt. Stanislaus was able to reverse the decision.

Downey said he is confident the jail will receive the grant in the next grant cycle that is expected to open up in the summer. "I don't see why our project would not rise to the top again," he said.

If the funding was approved the project would have been completed in 2018. Downey said the project will be put on hold until funding can be secured.