Feds Buy IL Prison For Maximum-Security Inmates To Relieve Overcrowding


The Federal Bureau of Prisons is buying the Thomson, Il. Correctional Center from the state for $165 million, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin's office announced, according to Politico. The unusual move to reprogram Justice Department funding bypassed House appropriators, who had objected to the purchase. An administration official said the deal was to address overcrowding, and Thomson would not be used to house Guantanamo detainees.

Thomson will be used to house up to 2,800 federal prisoners, described as “administrative maximum security inmates and others who have proven difficult to manage in high-security institutions.” Attorney General Eric Holder told sale-opponent Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, outlining the cost-effectiveness of the sale and its need to address “a 50 percent high-security overcrowding situation.” Holder said constructing a similar facility from scratch would cost $400 million and take years. Even though federal law bars housing Guantanamo detainees at Thomson, House Speaker John Boehner called the purchase a “backdoor” move that could make way for the administration to “import the terrorists housed at Guantanamo Bay to the United States.”

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