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Durbin, Bustos discuss Thomson prison with Federal Bureau of Prisons director

January 31, 2013

Online Staff Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jan. 31, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., discussed the Barack Obama administration’s continued commitment to opening Thomson Correctional Center with the director of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons, Charles Samuels.

Now that the acquisition of Thomson prison is complete, the Department of Justice has begun preparing for its activation, and Director Samuels assured us that process is moving forward,” said Durbin, who worked for more than three years to secure the purchase of Thomson prison by the federal government. “When President Obama releases his budget in the next few weeks, it should include funding for prison activation. Over the next few months, I will be working with Congresswoman Bustos to ensure that opening Thomson prison — and bringing jobs and economic activity to northwest Illinois communities — remains a priority.”

Bustos said: “I was pleased to hear today from Director Samuels that continued progress is being made toward the opening of Thomson prison. Thomson prison represents an economic shot in the arm to our region, and I look forward to working with Sen. Durbin over the coming months to make sure this job-creating facility continues to be on track for opening.”

Oct. 2, 2012, Durbin and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) announced that the federal government had purchased Thomson Correctional Center for use as a maximum-security federal prison to alleviate overcrowding in the federal prison system.

The federal government’s operation of Thomson is expected to provide a major boost to the local economy and create more than 1,100 jobs. Annual operation of the facility is expected to generate more than $122 million in operating expenditures (including salaries), $19 million in labor income, and $61 million in local business sales.

The Thomson facility was built in 2001 by the State of Illinois as a state-of-the-art, maximum-security prison to house the most severe criminal offenders. The bulk of the facility was never occupied, however, and is sitting vacant. The facility was constructed on a 146-acre piece of land and has 1,600 beds with eight compartmentalized units designed for maximum inmate supervision and control. The facility is enclosed by a 12-foot exterior fence and 15-foot interior fence, which includes a dual-sided electric stun fence.

Posted Jan. 31, 2013

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