Sheriff Honsal Addresses Attack On Correctional Officer

EUREKA – Sheriff Honsal held a press conference to share more details of the coordinated attack on a correctional officer at the Humboldt County Jail.

Honsal said, “People drive by this correctional facility every day and they see it and they recognize its the jail but they don’t know what goes on here.”

The Sheriffs Office says that Wednesday evening at 7:20 Correctional Deputy Dillon Huffman was conducting routine bed checks in the maximum security housing unit when two inmates asked him to look at art in their cell.

When Huffman opened the door, the pair immediately attacked him, punching him in the face repeatedly as Huffman tried to get away and call for backup.

Sheriff Honsal described the scene this way, “34 seconds on the second tier of the Maximum Security Housing Unit, it was Deputy Huffman fighting two inmates and the inmates normally wear a jumpsuit and it appears to us that the inmates were prepared to fight because they were basically down to their underwear and t-shirts. And they knew exactly what they were going to do. It was calculated.”

Within thirty-four Seconds, additional Officers arrived and detained the inmates. Huffman was treated at a local hospital for injuries to his face and head, then released. He’s expected to be back at work tomorrow.

The case will be forwarded to the District Attorney to place fresh charges on the two inmates. They will also face additional discipline including restrictions on visitation and diet.

Honsal points out that these incidents are on the rise, and he placed the blame for the increase squarely on the state. AB 109 was implemented in 2012 after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its prison population.

The humboldt county jail recorded seven assaults on officers in 2013 and 2014 combined. That number ballooned to thirty-six the following year, then twenty-seven in 2016. So far in 2017, inmates have assaulted officers twenty-two times. Four of those required hospitalization. Inmates are also assaulting each other in increasing numbers.

Honsal said it’s time for the state to take responsibility.

They should be re-establishing mental health facilities all over the state because a lot of our issues in our Correctional Facility had to do with mentally ill offenders. When your jail is the biggest mental health treatment facility in the county, that’s a problem.”