US Senator Dick Durbin says the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved almost $48 million to help equip and staff Thomson Correctional Center in northwestern Illinois. The Illinois Democrat says the bill also includes $15 million to modernize and repair the facility. Illinois built the prison in 2001, but budget troubles kept it from fully opening. The federal government bought it for $165 million in 2012, and it's expected to employ about 1,000 people once it's activated. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has said Thomson would help reduce overcrowding at high-security federal prisons. Illinois lawmakers say the prison will be an important job-creator and have a wider economic impact on Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties. Durbin says US Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois helped preserve funding for Thomson.
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