Thorsby Council votes to terminate contract with probation company

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, May 5, 2015

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Thorsby is ending its contract with private probation company Judicial Correction Services.

The Town Council voted unanimously at a regular meeting Monday to send a letter to JCS notifying the company of the town’s intention to terminate the contract at the end of a 30-day period as required by the terms of the contract.

Town Clerk Crystal Smith said her recommendation for the measure came after discussions with Municipal Court Judge Amanda Baxley and Police Chief Rodney Barnett.

Along with Thorsby, Chilton County municipalities Clanton and Jemison have had contracts with JCS, which maintains an office in Jemison.

The company’s practices have come under scrutiny after a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center alleged JCS violated federal racketeering laws by extorting money from impoverished residents by threatening them with jail when they fall behind on paying municipal court fines.

Thorsby’s muncipal court would begin collecting and processing fees and fines in-house.

In other business, the council:

•Approved for Barnett to begin looking into surveillance cameras to be installed inside Town Hall and the Thorsby Annex, as well as near entrances of the two buildings. Barnett recommended the measure and said a surveillance system would be paid for out of municipal court funds.

•Heard from Mayor Jean Nelson that the town will hold a National Day of Prayer event at 9 a.m. Thursday at Helen Jenkins Chapel.

•Heard from Nelson that a public hearing will be held at 1 p.m. May 13 at Thorsby Municipal Annex to discuss the town’s submission of an application for a Community Development Block Grant for a school demolition project. For more information, call (205) 646-3575.

•Heard from Councilman Neil Benson, who recommended measures be taken to improve the appearance of Richard Wood Park in preparation for the beginning of the annual Movies in the Park series.

•Approved retaining the services of Howie McNeill III for completion of an audit of the town’s finances.

•Approved Brandon Maddox, who completed the Jefferson County Reserve Academy, as a part-time officer in the police department.

•Heard from Public Works Director Terry Jackson about him attending a training conference in Gulf Shores over the summer. The council was supportive of Jackson attending, but no motion was made because funds for training is already included in the budget.

•Approved the minutes from the April 20 meeting.

•Approved paying appropriate bills.

Jemison City Council holds short meeting

Jemison’s City Council held a short meeting Monday in the absence of Mayor Eddie Reed and Councilman Rex Bittle.

The only action taken by the council was the paying of appropriate bills.