Thomson, Il., population 500, which may soon house the most notorious prison in the U.S., has waited eight years for an economic boon from the facility. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says families have come and gone, shops have expanded, and closed, roads have been widened, hotels built. Now, most residents don’t worry much about who will fill the prison – as long as it is filled.
The Thomson Correctional Center sits just a mile outside town, a few football fields’ length from the main road, a hail-Mary from the closest homes. Dissenters have lined up. At a hearing last week, prison guard union leaders argued that the state needs the space to ease its own prison crowding. Some politicians and conservative activists warned that terrorists may target the region. Thomson residents aren’t thrilled about that part, either. With a few exceptions, most figure the trade-off is worth it.