Online Staff Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., commended President Barack Obama’s decision to include funding for the activation of the Thomson correctional facility in Thomson, Ill., in his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, which was delivered to Congress earlier today, April 10.
President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget includes a request for $166.3 million to begin the activation of Thomson prison and two other prisons, acquire 1,000 private contract beds, and to expand a program to reduce recidivism rates. If fully funded by Congress, the president’s budget would likely cover the entire cost of upgrades and renovations to the facility.
The full activation of Thomson prison is expected to take two years at a cost of $25 million in fiscal year 2014 for upgrades and renovations and $168 million in fiscal year 2015 for equipment and staffing.
“It’s very clear today that President Obama views the activation of Thomson prison as a high priority for America’s prison system,” said Durbin, who has been working with the Obama administration and the State of Illinois on the purchase of Thomson prison since 2009. “The Thomson prison will help reduce serious prison overcrowding, create over 1,100 jobs and bring millions of dollars in new economic activity to Illinois. I will work with Congresswoman Bustos to preserve this presidential priority.”
Bustos, who sent a letter last week to President Obama requesting that funding for Thomson be included in his 2014 budget proposal, added: “I’m pleased that President Obama agrees that opening Thomson prison is a high priority. Thomson prison would not only alleviate overcrowding of our prison system, but it would also be an economic shot in the arm to a region that continues to struggle with high unemployment. Now that the president has signaled his support for Thomson, it is time for Congress to appropriate the funds necessary to make sure the opening of Thomson prison remains on track.”
The Thomson facility, just north of Thomson, Ill., in northwest Illinois along the Mississippi River, 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 April 10, 2013