The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 14, 2014

Funding announced for Thomson prison

CLINTON — Federal officials announced Thursday the Federal Bureau of Prisons has committed $53.7 million to the Thomson, Ill., prison.

In a story published by the Clinton Herald on Thursday, Fulton Police Chief Dave Bartels said he had received information that money had been allocated recently for the physical work on the prison. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos said Thursday that $10 million is designated for renovation while $43.7 million will be used for staffing and equipment purchases and upgrades.

The full activation of the Thomson prison is expected to take two years at a cost of $25 million for upgrades and renovations and approximately $170 million for equipment and staffing.

“This is the news we’ve been waiting for,” Durbin said. “It’s a sure sign that work will begin soon in Thomson and confirms, without a doubt, that the Obama Administration remains firmly committed to opening and operating Thomson prison.”

Last month, Durbin and Bustos sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to include the necessary funding for the second year of activation of the Thomson Correction Center in his Fiscal Year 2015 budget request.

The federal government’s operation of Thomson is expected to create more than 1,100 jobs. Annual operation of the facility is expected to generate more than $122 million in operating expenditures (including salaries), $19 million in labor income and $61 million in local business sales.

The Thomson facility was built in 2001 by the state of Illinois as a maximum-security prison to house the most serious criminal offenders. The bulk of the facility was never occupied and is sitting vacant.

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