Posts Tagged: Thomson

Prison break

According to two Illinois state lawmakers, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the Obama administration have agreed that the Justice Department’s Federal Bureau of Prisons will buy the vacant Thomson prison in Thomson, Illinois. State Sen. Mike Jacobs of Moline claimed that the $165 million purchase will create 2,000 long-term jobs as the feds convert Thomson to a federal maximum security prison. The sale of Thomson would put to bed a politically embarrassing episode for Barack Obama and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin who wanted Thomson to house Guantanamo Bay terrorist detainees. The deal, though, is not completely done. (more…)

Obama: Build more prisons

President Obama’s 2012 budget includes $67 million to renovate and open Thomson prison in rural, western Illinois as a federal prison, reports CNN’s Terry Frieden. Frieden writes that Obama hopes Thomson could hold prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay. But heavy, bipartisan opposition in Congress to “Guantanamo in Illinois” makes that almost impossible. In June, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin proposed turning Thomson into a regular prison for federal inmates.  The $67 million could be a downpayment on Durbin’s idea. (more…)

Federal govt. is silent at Thomson auction

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn decided that the best way to end the saga of the Thomson Correctional Center in rural Thomson — once billed as the Guantanamo Bay of Illinois — was to auction off the prison. However, the Chicago Tribune’s Monique Garcia reports that the state held an auction yesterday — and no one participated. (more…)

Well, now that we’ve given up on shutting down Gitmo…

The Chicago Tribune’s Katherine Sikba has a “Whatever happened to…” story on “Gitmo in Illinois,” the  planned conversion of a correctional center in the village of Thomson into both a federal prison and detention site for terror suspects. (more…)

Standish and Thomson: A tale of two prisons

The Justice Dept.’s Federal Bureau of Prisons might convert a maximum security prison in Standish, Michigan into a federal prison, reports Steve Carmody of Michigan Public Radio. This despite an environmental impact study stating that the prison must do renovations, including increasing the number of prisoners it can house.

The situation in Standish is similar to what happened three months ago in Thomson, Illinois — with a couple of critical differences. (more…)

Gitmo in Illinois minus the Gitmo part

The Chicago Tribune’s Christi Parsons reports that the Justice Dept. will buy a correctional facility in Thomson, Illinois even if Congress continues to block funding to move Guantanamo Bay detainees to Illinois. Turning the Thomson facility into a federal prison while sidestepping possible hysteria over housing terrorist suspects would appear to be a win-win for Illinois. (more…)

‘Guantanamo in Illinois’ Not a Done Deal

So reports the Chicago Tribune’s Katherine Skiba and Peter Nichols: the $626 billion defense spending bill that just passed Congress doesn’t include money to convert the correctional center at Thomson, Illinois to a federal prison. The White House announced a week ago that it wanted to resettle Guantanamo Bay terrorist detainees at Thomson.

But there is a problem besides money: Congress needs to pass a law that says it’s okay to detain people on American soil without giving them a trial. Dissent about holding detainees at Thomson has mostly come from Illinois Republicans that the locked-up detainees will terrorize rural Illinoisans. But the most resonant arguments will come from civil libertarians, appalled by indefinite detention. Obama has made a big deal about closing Guantnamo, but what’s the point if the detainees still can’t get a trial once they are re-settled in the U.S.? Obama will have to make the case to fellow Democrats that spending money on a new site for continued detentions is a necessary evil.

‘Gitmo In The Heartland’ Looks Like A Go

The Chicago Sun-Times Lynn Sweet reports on a leaked memo from the White House that more or less finalized a decision to re-route some Guantanamo Bay detainees to a prison in Thomson, Illinois. I reported on the policy and politics of resettling the Guantanamo detainees to Thomson a week ago. Given the general disgust from politicians about re-settling terrorist detainees in their “backyard,” the reaction from Illinois politicians must be refreshing to the White House. Republicans are opposed, but last week Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin once again stated their support for a plan that they say will boost the local economy.

Jobs From ‘Gitmo in Thomson, Illinois’ Will Not Be Tourism-Related

The BIG federal-local story this weekend in Illinois was the Chicago Tribune reporting that Barack Obama has considered a proposal to ship Guantanamo detainees to the almost entirely unused Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Illinois. The center has sat vacant since it was built for $1.2 billion in 2001 and it could now be used as a maximum security facility that would A.) help solve Obama’s problem of closing Guantanamo and B.) create 2,000 or so local jobs for an economically bleak town.

Illinois Republicans, though, immediately criticized the plan, warning of doomsday terrorist scenarios where resettled Guantanamo detainees blow up Chicago skyscrapers. (more…)