Manzullo: OK to open federal prison in Thomson, Ill., but no terrorists allowed
Editor’s note: To read what Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) have said about the possible federal prison in Thomson, Ill., click here. To read U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo’s (R-16) previous statements about the possibility of a federal prison in Thomson, Ill., click here.
From press release
CHICAGO—U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) called on President Barack Obama (D) Nov. 16 to abandon his proposal to move up to 215 Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to northwest Illinois and instead focus on opening the state’s Thomson Correctional Facility as a maximum security federal prison without the terrorists.
Manzullo, a senior member of the House Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, said the federal prison system is 37 percent over capacity and is in dire need of a new prison. Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Harley Lappin told Manzullo Nov. 15 that Thomson would make an ideal federal prison because it is already maximum security, fairly new, and large enough to meet the BOP’s needs.
Since it’s questionable Congress will agree to allow the Gitmo terrorists to be detained in the United States (Congress already voted this year to deny U.S. detention to Gitmo terrorists), Manzullo is drafting a letter asking the president to separate the two issues and immediately submit a funding request to Congress to open a new federal prison in Thomson without the terrorists. Lappin estimated purchasing Thomson would cost the federal government about $120 million up front and $65 million to $85 million annually to operate.
“The federal prison system is way overcrowded and is in dire need of more space, and Thomson offers an ideal solution,” Manzullo said. “Moving Gitmo north to Thomson, Ill., should not be part of the package, especially since the administration faces a huge hurdle in getting Congressional approval for the terrorists to be detained in America. I’m calling on the president to separate the two issues. Opening Thomson as a federal prison without the terrorists would be a home run for the people who need jobs in northwest Illinois, the federal prison system that’s in dire need of more capacity, and the safety of the American people.”
Manzullo learned Nov. 15 the administration is planning to move Gitmo north into one facility—Thomson or another U.S. location—making it the largest concentration of incarcerated terrorists in the United States, if not the world.
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