Madison citizens concerns over Three Springs prompts action from city leaders

MADISON, Ala. -- Madison Police say 18-year-old Jakobe Carter of Phenix City, and 17-year-old Arron Jones of Birmingham, ran away from the Three Springs facility Monday morning. And that night, killed a 61-year-old out-of-state construction worker.

The two teens are charged with capital murder during a first degree robbery and burglary.

Now, many people who live around Three Springs say for years there were no problems with the facility. That is, until this year.

Already in 2017 Three Springs has reported four runaways from the section devoted to juveniles in DHR custody, and one escapee from the medium security facility run by the Department of Youth Services.

Butch Parris said when you can easily put yourself in the spot of someone so tragically killed, you want to know what can be done about it.

"What if it was my wife who at 4:30 the next morning was jogging in our neighborhood? Everybody can put themselves in that spot," he said.

He said over the past few months it has become more and more evident there are problems at the facility. Parris said his initial stance is to shut it down.

"We want the issues fixed. If that means closing it, that's fine. If that means drastic measures to the security measures they take, I'm willing to listen to those too," he said.

Parris said he recognizes that the facility has been there longer than most neighborhoods and businesses in the area.

"This isn't about I never wanted to live next to this place, this is about this place has changed and something needs to be done about it," he explained.

Madison Mayor Paul Finley said the incident has prompted them to reevaluate the term "runaway" when it comes from Three Springs.

"Is that the right way to be labeled and the thing that we need to continue? Absolutely not, as the community doesn't care. When somebody leaves that facility that's a major problem, so we're looking at every aspect of that," he explained.

Mayor Finley said they hear the community loud and clear, and they're taking action.

"We fully agree that every aspect from keeping them in, to shutting that facility down, will be looked at. We will collectively make a good decision in the weeks and months to come," he said.

He said as parents, and homeowners, the citizens concerns are real and justified.

"We will not stop until we feel comfortable that the situation has been rectified," he said.

Madison Police Chief David Jernigan met with Three Springs officials on Wednesday. Madison city and state leaders, including Mayor Finley, District Two County Commissioner Steve Haraway, and State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) are also meeting with those officials on Thursday afternoon to discuss what needs to be done.