Manzullo urges Obama to utilize Thomson as a federal prison without terrorists
From press release
WASHINGTON, D.C.—With Congress continuing to oppose moving GITMO terrorists inside the United States, U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) recently called on President Barack Obama to purchase and utilize the vacant Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois as a maximum security federal prison without the terrorists.
In a letter to President Obama, Manzullo said another 750 maximum security federal inmates could be incarcerated at the state-owned Thomson facility if the administration allowed the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to use the three pods (200 cells in each pod) set aside for GITMO terrorists. The BOP is planning to house 1,800 maximum security federal inmates in the other five pods at Thomson, and would welcome the additional space.
“Housing an extra 750 federal prisoners at Thomson would create more civilian job opportunities while further reducing the current 52 percent overcrowding in the federal prison system’s maximum security division,” Manzullo said. “It is my understanding that the federal prison population is expected to grow by 10,000 to 14,000 inmates over the next two years. This has become a critical safety issue that reduces the guard-to-prison ratio, and jeopardizes the security of our federal personnel who work in these facilities. I strongly urge the president to fully utilize Thomson as a federal prison without the terrorists.”
Manzullo’s letter to the president comes on the heels of another strong bipartisan vote in Congress this past week against bringing the GITMO terrorists into the United States. Thursday, May 20, the House Armed Services Committee voted 59-0 for the FY 2011 Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 5136) that includes the following language: “(t)he committee firmly believes that the construction or modification of any facility in the U.S. to detain or imprison individuals currently being held at Guantanamo must be accompanied by a thorough and comprehensive plan that outlines the merits, costs and risks associated with utilizing such a facility. No such plan has been presented to date.” As a result of this unanimous legislative action, even Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) acknowledged to the Chicago Tribune Friday, May 21, it is less likely the GITMO terrorist detainees will come to Illinois.
Manzullo suspects the outrageous price tag of moving the GITMO terrorists to Thomson—$350 million—is also a driving force behind Congress’s opposition to the plan, along with concerns that moving GITMO to Thomson will simply transfer the threat and hatred to northwest Illinois.
“With this latest bipartisan vote in Congress, it is apparent the president will not get the Congressional support he needs to move the terrorists to Thomson,” Manzullo said. “I strongly urge him to free up the extra pods at the prison so we can house another 750 federal prison inmates and further reduce the extreme overcrowding in the federal maximum security system.”
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