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Thomson prison closer to becoming federal lock-up

Thu, 14 Feb 2013 04:20:07 CST

Illinois moved a step closer to selling the prison in Thomson. The state already has an agreement to sell it to the federal government. But as IPR's Brian Mackey reports, Republicans in the state legislature still have concerns about the deal:

It's pretty much already a done deal. But the state legislature still has to formally allow the US government to have jurisdiction over what will become the Thomson United States Penitentiary. At a Senate hearing on legislation to do just that, there was no Republican support.
Senator Bill Brady, from Bloomington, echoed longtime Republican concerns that the Obama administration might use Thomson to house terrorism suspects currently at the military base on Guantanamo Bay.
The feds have said they will not do that

"They've given us a verbal commitment, but that's only verbal."

Brady says he doesn't want Thomson to become a focal point of terrorist activity.

But Senator Mike Jacobs, a Democrat from East Moline, says that argument is "ridiculous."

"These people are still chasing bugaboos and imaginary horribles when the facility has already been sold to the federal government."

The prison, which sits near the Mississippi River in northwest Illinois, was finished more than 10 years ago, but Illinois has never had the money to fully open it.

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