Sheriff, Eureka Chief to Talk Late-Night Jail Release Policy


The county’s top law enforcement officers and church leaders will meet Wednesday, Feb. 26 to discuss the Humboldt County jail’s policy of releasing inmates late at night, when few services are available to them.

The jail’s policy came into question after the high-profile killing of Father Eric Freed and was addressed in the Journal’s cover story “Dead of Night” on Jan. 30. 

The meeting will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building.

Here’s the press release:

Local clergy and law enforcement will hold a Public Safety Forum on the issue of night-time releases of inmates from the county jail. The forum will be held Wednesday, February 26, 2014, from 3 pm to 5 pm at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka. A panel of public safety representatives will discuss and answer questions from the public.

“The forum was initiated at a meeting of the Eureka Interfaith Fellowship following the death of Father Eric Freed,” said Rabbi Naomi Steinberg. “We feel there is a need for community education regarding current regulations on night-time release, and how to improve procedures,” she said.

Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills will be joined on the panel by Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos, Sheriff Mike Downey, Undersheriff Bill Honsal, county jail commander Captain Ed Wilkinson, Supervising State Probation Agent Alexander Purvis, and representatives from the county Probation Department and county Mental Health Services.

The forum will also address related issues such as mental and medical re-evaluation of inmates prior to release, and returning of released prisoners to the area where they live or were arrested.

The event also will include a very brief memorial for Father Eric Freed and other victims of violent crime.

The Wharfinger Building is located at 1 Marina Way in Eureka. The Public Safety Forum is free and open to the public until the seating capacity is reached.

The Interfaith Fellowship is an informal group of local clergy who present an Interfaith Thanksgiving Sing, and award the Humboldt County Peace Prize biannually.

Chief Andy Mills may be contacted for further information at 441-4060.

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