MADISON, Ala. – Earlier this month, Madison police say two teens that were housed inside the Three Springs facility ran away. The pair are now accused of killing 61-year-old Van Johnson.
Many citizens were concerned about the lack of notification when the teens were reported truant. These concerns prompted city leaders to re-evaluate several issues concerning the facility.
Monday night, more than a dozen citizens brought their concerns about the Three Springs facility in front of the Madison City Council.
We were at the meeting and Mayor Paul Finley announced what he hopes to do in order to ensure something like this never happens again.
When Three Springs first opened in 1996, it was isolated. Now many homes share a fence with the facility, and the owners of those fences came out in full force to speak their mind.
“It’s progressively gotten worse, and worse, and worse,” said one neighbor of the facility at the meeting.
Tracy Jones was the only one at City Council who’s been on the other side of that fence. She’s a former employee at Three Springs.
“This facility they’re not, they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do,” she told Council.
Jones listed multiple examples of runaways during her employment there, and says because of ineffective management, it’s unsafe for the facility to be located so close to people’s homes.
“At one time when I was there, we had 5 kids in one day that ran from DHR,” says Jones.
Mayor Paul Finley insisted, he hears everyone loud and clear.
One of the first steps the facility’s management company, Sequel, has taken is to establish an advisory committee featuring the Chief of Police, three Madison citizens and the Mayor himself.
“To meet with those officials to ask that they require more,” he told council.
Finley says, he’s also discovered the city doesn’t have any capability of revoking the facility’s business license because public safety isn’t one of the criteria under city ordinance.
The City Attorney plans on introducing that into a new resolution at the next meeting.