The City is saddened by the loss of life that occurred this morning. Our entire community mourns the fact such a tragedy could occur.
There have been many questions raised by the community throughout the day. The Mayor’s office, City Council and Madison Police have worked together to address the following concerns:
Q: What is the history of reports of runaways/escapees at Three Springs?
A: There had been only 1 reported runaway event in 2013, 1 in 2014, none in 2015, 1 escapee report in 2016, but already 4 runaway and 1 escapee incident reported by Three Springs in 2017.
Q: Why was the public not notified yesterday of the “escape”?
A: The two males were runaways, not escapees. They were in the care of the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). There are 10 such beds at the Three Springs facility operated by DHR. Youth in the custody of DHR that leave the facility are reported as runaways. The two males were not juveniles housed by the Department of Youth Services (DYS) which also operate a medium security facility at Three Springs. Had the reported males been housed by DYS, they would have been treated as escapees.
On runaway reports, MPD has a policy to wait 24 hours before notifying the public. Although a public notification was not done per policy, all MPD 1st shift officers were notified immediately and were actively on the lookout for the runaways.
Q: What can be done immediately to address the security concerns?
A: Three Springs is operated by a company called Sequal TSI. Police Chief David Jernigan had scheduled a meeting with the new director of Three Springs prior to this event for Wednesday morning, August 16th. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss concerns of the recent increase in reports from the facility. They will still be meeting tomorrow with Sequal executive leadership to also address security at the facility.
City officials have spoken with the Executive Vice President of Sequal TSI this evening. Sequal is putting extra measures in place for tonight. They include: increased staff on campus, administrative staff will remain on campus until the kids go to bed, will have additional overnight staff and no children will be allowed to go outside. Action items on their agenda for tomorrow include corporate staff on campus to do a complete review of the incident, holding team meetings with all the staff to discuss extra safety precautions and providing additional training regarding preventing truancies.
Q: I don’t think this facility should be part of our community. What can be done to remove it from our community? Can they have their facility permit or privileges revoked based on their lack of competent security?
A: Mayor Finley, Madison County Commissioner Haraway, and other City officials discussed the situation with State Senator Holtzclaw today, and they will continue to bring their concerns about the facility to other state officials tomorrow. The City is also actively investigating its available legal options as this situation evolves.
The City will continue to listen to public concerns and address them appropriately.