I have written previously about the battle that occurred on Capitol Hill over the purchase of Illinois’s shuttered Thomson prison (see here, hereand here). Yesterday’s Rockford Register Star includes a statement from Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) concerning Thomson’s expected opening:
Now that the acquisition of Thomson prison is complete, the Department of Justice has begun preparing for its activation and Director Samuels assured us that process is moving forward. When President Obama releases his budget in the next few weeks, it should include funding for prison activation. Over the next few months, I will be working with Congresswoman Bustos to ensure that opening Thomson prison – and bringing jobs and economic activity to Northwest Illinois communities – remains a priority.
Representative Cheri Bustos added that she was “pleased to hear today from Director Samuels that continued progress is being made toward the opening of Thomson prison. Thomson prison represents an economic shot in the arm to our region, and I look forward to working with Sen. Durbin over the coming months to make sure this job-creating facility continues to be on track for opening.”
The Clinton Herald reports that the BOP has already started staffing Thomson notwithstanding a lack of formal funding:
Despite the lack of funding, the BOP has been able to move forward in some respects.
Two BOP staff were selected and will transfer to Thomson beginning April 7. No positions have been posted for the general public at this time.
[Bureau of Prisons Activation Coordinator Cathi] Litcher said that they plan to let as many people in the local commuting area of about a 1 1/2 hour drive of the prison know when vacancies are listed.
Fulton has taken the lead in preparing to offer opportunities for expansion as the prison finally opens, by hiring Rumery and looking into their resources both negative and positive.
“Other communities will likely start taking notice with this news,” [Fulton City Administrator Randy] Balk said. “For us, it’s all about improving and growing our community.”