Illinois Statehouse News
No one knows who will be housed there, but the Obama administration is moving to buy the Thomson prison by the end of year.
The nearly empty state-built lock-up north of the Quad Cities had been eyed as a destination for terror suspects when the U.S. military's prison in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba closed. That has yet to happen, but now there's word that Thomson will be bought regardless of who will be housed there. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) released a letter late Monday that explained the federal Bureau of Prisons is moving ahead with the sale, and hopes to take over Thomson by the end of the year.
Ronald Weich, an Assistant Attorney General, wrote both Durbin and Manzullo that the federal government is standing behind its commitment to buy the Thomson prison. If Guantanamo Bay terror suspects are not brought to Illinois, or anywhere else in the U.S., Thomson may be used for federal inmates in other prisons across the country.
Gov. Pat Quinn's office released its own joint statement with Durbin, saying the purchase of Thomson would be great news for that area of northern Illinois. The governor's office predicts "thousands of jobs" and a "$1 billion impact on the Illinois economy."
But there are a number of people who live near the prison who are not excited about the prospect of bringing terrorists to the state. Lawmakers in Springfield have also questioned the wisdom of the sale. Illinois built the Thomson prison back in 2001 to ease overcrowding in state prisons. But budget cuts and political in-fighting have kept the prison nearly empty.
You can read the full report on Thomson here: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/3331/feds-to-buy-thomson-even-without-gitmo-prisoners/