MADISON, AL (WAFF) - On Tuesday, Madison city leaders, community members and representatives from Three Springs juvenile facility discussed the public's safety. This was in response to two teens who ran away from the facility in August.
Madison police say those teens went on a burglary spree and even beat a construction worker to death while on the run. Their case is now bound over to a grand jury.
Tuesday's meeting was part of an ongoing collaboration between the city and Three Springs to tackle the safety issue.
In the meantime, a current employee of Three Springs spoke exclusively to WAFF 48 News and said the facility is a danger to the community and should be shut down.
"There is a lot of things that goes on that the media and the neighborhood does not know that goes on at the facility that administration tried to hide. They hide it from the state and they don't want us to talk to the media," said the employee, who wished to remain anonymous.
The employee claims not much has changed in time since the two teens ran away.
"I just feel I was compelled to come forward to be honest and let people know what is going on in the facility," the employee said.
The employee said the real problem lies with inadequate and overworked staff who missed the teens running out a door and getting away.
"This is not the first time that the residents ran out that particular door. Administration knew this but unfortunately, something like this had to happen for them to take notice. Some people are working nine days straight. Some people are working 12 days straight before they even have an off day. Some people are working double shifts. Some people are working first,second and third shift back to back. That in itself is a safety issue," the employee said.
The Three Springs' Sequel Youth Services website says it's a residential treatment facility serving males ages 12 to 18 that are medium risk assigned there by state agencies. They say they offering treatment and therapeutic help for troubled youth.
The employee claimed they're not getting that help.
"I feel like the program is not helping them. There is a lot of residents and only four case managers. They have a lot on them, and they are not getting the proper help that they need. You have some teachers there that are not even certified," said the employee.
WAFF 48 News reached out to Three Springs about this employee's claims, starting with overworked staff.
A spokesperson issued a statement saying, "Madison TSI has provided additional administrative oversight that is constantly monitoring and evaluating the needs of the program."
When asked about uncertified teachers, the spokesperson said, "All teachers are certified and provide instruction."
"There were immediate changes made such as installation of additional fencing, enhanced surveillance and hardware," the spokesperson added.
Madison Mayor Paul Finley said it now falls on Three Springs to show the community that they can be a good neighbor.
"They (Three Springs) have value but the community doesn't care how much value if they don't feel safe," said Finley.
Right after the runaway, Madison's city council passed an ordinance to give them more teeth to be able to penalize or even shut down businesses that could be creating a nuisance. Finley said they've been looking to pass something like this before, but the Three Springs incident definitely exacerbated the need.
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