Inmate escape adds to fight against new halfway house

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, July 10, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- An escaped inmate is back in custody after escaping from the Augusta Transitional Center early Wednesday morning.

Rashad Akil Jackson was arrested in Hephzibah around 1:30 p.m. He was serving time for a number of serious charges, including shooting a man and threatening to kill a witness.

Jackson's escape is exactly why neighbors are nervous living near the halfway house.

News 12 reported weeks ago that a private company has picked out the property in the Laney Walker neighborhood for a second halfway house in the area.

Neighbors are gearing up for a fight.

"It's happened before and it will keep happening," said business owner Jack Stewart.

"I don't feel safe," said Neighborhood Watch President Stella Nunnally.

She's on the move. Nunnally met with planning and zoning officials on Wednesday trying to stop federal criminals from moving in to 802 7th St.

"We don't know if these people are monitored. We want to feel safe. We just don't want another transition center," she said.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy disagrees. He recently voted against spending $300,000 for research related to a possible GRU expansion to the Mills. He is in favor of another halfway house in his district.

Some might say it's almost saying no to college students and yes to ex-cons.

"I'm saying that. Once they leave the transitional centers, they will have life skills," Fennoy said.

The federal government has identified a need for another halfway house in Augusta. Several federal prisoners will be released in the area.

"I've been assured by the people at the transitional center that appropriate action will be taken," Fennoy said.

Talks between the neighborhood president and the commissioner have been unsuccessful.

"He wanted to know why it shouldn't be there. I wanted to know why it should," she said.

Fennoy says nobody really knows where their neighbors come from anyway.

"I don't know if my immediate neighbors have been to prison or where they came from," he said.

"I don't feel like our commissioner is concerned about our well-being," Nunnally said.

Safety she says could be at risk if another home for ex-cons is built in her neighborhood. The second hearing for the planned federal halfway house will happen in December. Augusta commissioners will make the final decision.


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