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Humboldt County responds to Grand Jury Report, late night inmate releases

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EUREKA- The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office will not eliminate late night inmate releases, against recommendations of this year’s Grand Jury Report.

On Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors reviewed department responses to those recommendations. According to the sheriff’s office official response to the Grand Jury Report, stopping late night releases is unreasonable because, in many instances, those arrested can only legally be held for a certain amount of time. If late night releases were eliminated, the correctional facility would risk violating the Constitution.

Also part of the grand jury recommendations regarding late night releases, the county was asked to provide bus tickets to transport released inmates from out of town, back to the city in which they were arrested. The recommendations called for the Board of Supervisors to contract with the Humboldt Transit Authority (HTA) to provide that transportation.

In response to those requests, the supervisors said they couldn’t make the changes due to financial limitations. Additionally, HTA’s operational schedules are primarily during the daytime, making late night release transportation even more difficult.

“There are some things that we'd really like to be able to handle but we can't because we don't have the money for it and that's always very frustrating for us,” said 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell. “We recognize the need, it's very obvious and that's, in fact the reason why we get complaints from people; complaints about the roads, complaints about the late night release, all of those. Some of the answers for those issues would come with extra funding and we just don't have it.”