A U.S. Senate committee approved funding to re-open the Thomson prison as a federal facility. Sen. Dick Durbin is a member of the Appropriations Committee that approved $166 million Thursday to reactivate Thomson and two other prisons. The money will also buy 1,000 prison beds from private contractors and expand a program to reduce recidivism. The state opened the northwestern Illinois prison in 2001 but never fully opened it because of budget problems. The federal government bought it for $165 million last fall. Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos, both Democrats, say the plan is to spend $25 million in the fiscal year that ends in September for upgrades and renovation and $168 million next year for equipment and staffing.
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