SPRINGFIELD — The Obama administration and Gov. Pat Quinn have mapped out an end-run around the GOP that will enable the state to unload the long-mothballed Thomson Correctional Center for $165 million, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s office confirmed Tuesday.
The federal government will pay that amount to convert the facility, built in the 1990s but never opened because the state couldn’t afford to staff it, into a maximum-security prison.
That conversion will give the state’s battered treasury an unexpected windfall and pump 1,000 prison jobs and several hundred construction jobs into northwestern Illinois.
“This prison they spent a lot of money on and hoped to use as an economic engine in the area is now going to become a federal prison,” Sen. Dick Durbin told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Durbin emphasized that a plan once envisioned by President Barack Obama’s administration to transfer terrorism detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Thomson has been abandoned, and that those housed at the new federal prison will be domestic criminals.
Chicago Sun Times has the full article