Officials gather to discuss Thomson prison


Share
Originally Posted Online: Sept. 05, 2013, 12:30 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 05, 2013, 11:25 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

THOMSON (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos said Thursday that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is ready to start the process of opening Thomson prison but they are waiting for approval of the federal budget first.

Durbin and Bustos met with about 40 residents at a school in Thomson in northwestern Illinois to give an update on the status of the facility. The state of Illinois owned the prison but never fully opened it. The federal government bought it for $165 million last fall.

The Daily Gazette in Sterling reports that when the prison opens as a federal facility it is expected to employ 1,100 people and have an economic impact on Whiteside, Lee and Ogle counties.

Bureau of Prisons official Bill Dalius, who attended the Thomson meeting, said the agency is committed to opening Thomson and once Obama signs a budget including the funding for the prison, the bureau will move quickly.

"It's a high priority for the Bureau of Prisons," Dalius said. "Nothing else is under construction anywhere."

Federal officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have said opening Thomson as a federal facility would help alleviate prison overcrowding.

Thomson residents remained skeptical about the timeline, and Durbin said he wanted to give them "fair warning."

"We've heard the same story before," village Trustee Les Mitchell said. "We're going on 13 years. It's always been, 'Yeah, we're going to do it.' Of course, that was always the state before."

The state of Illinois built Thomson prison in 2001. But budget troubles kept it from fully opening, and its 1,600 cells housed fewer than 200 inmates before the facility was closed in preparation for a sale. The last inmates were moved out in 2010.














 



Local events heading








  Today is Friday, April 25, the 115th day of 2014. There are 250 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Never in the history of Rock Island was there such a demand for houses as at present. Our city is suffering for the want of suitable tenement houses.

1889 — 125 years ago: The choir of Central Presbyterian Church presented a ladies concert under the direction of S.T. Bowlby.

1914 — 100 years ago: Miss Rosella Benson was elected president of the Standard Bearers of Spencer Memorial Methodist Church.

1939 — 75 years ago: Mrs. Nell Clapper was elected president of the Rock Island Business and Professional Women's Club.

1964 — 50 years ago: Gerald Hickman, of Seattle, Wash, will move his family to Rock Island to assume the position of produce buyer for the Eagle Food Center chain of food stores. This announcement was made today by Bernard Weindruch, president of Eagles.

1989 — 25 years ago: Care & Share, formed in 1984 to provide food to jobless and needy Quad-Citians, will disband because the major part of a crisis created by plant closings is over. Food for the needy is still necessary. So groups separately will continue to raise money and collect food.




(More History)