Brierfield residents continue protest over potential new prison

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Brierfield, Ala. (WIAT) — People in Brierfield are speaking out over a possible prison being built in the area.

On Thursday, a meeting at Ashby Missionary Baptist Church discussing how to prevent the prison from being developed. Newly elected Representative Russell Bedsole answered questions on the facility from residents and what is all left in the process.

Jackson McNeely, who organized the meeting, says the Governor’s Office and other state leaders have left them out of the conversation for the facility. She believes having the prison built will do more harm than good to the area.

“It is wrong for Brierfield. This prison is wrong for Brierfiled,” McNeely said.

Many residents sided safety issues being their concern; one person said they didn’t think it’s right for the people to have to fight for a peaceful place to live.

McNeely started the meeting by citing how the prison will impact their livelihoods, even environmentally.

“This prison is going to use approximately 500,000 gallons of water per day,” McNeely said.

Elected officials from the area also attended the meeting and voiced their opposition to the prison.

“I want prison reform, I just don’t want a prison built here,” Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade said.

Sheriff Wade says resources for first responders could be stretched thin from the new facility.

“So if you have two ambulances and one is in the prison, one’s at a wreck, where are they going to respond?” Wade said.

Representative Bedsole said during the meeting that the prison plans are still not finalized yet, which McNeely believes gives their cause hope.

“And that gives us even more fighting power and that’s what we are doing. We’re going to fight this,” McNeely said.

She says this is about more than just Brierfield.

“Because this is not about me, this is not about a group of five people, this is about a community,” McNeely said.

They plan to have another meeting on the prison soon.

McNeely is encouraging Governor Kay Ivey to come to Brierfield and discuss the plan, and hopefully change her mind.


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