Durbin, Bustos Announce Hiring of Warden at Thomson Prison

[THOMSON, IL] – The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has taken an essential step in the activation of Thomson Correctional Center by hiring a warden for the new federal prison, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) announced today at the facility in Thomson. They were joined at the community leaders update meeting by Charles Samuels, Jr., BOP Director, Donald Hudson, Thomson prison’s new warden, and other senior BOP staff. Hudson has worked for BOP since 1990 and was most recently the warden of FCI Schuylkill in Pennsylvania. He’ll be tasked with overseeing facility renovations, hiring staff, community outreach and supervising prison operations.

The hiring of the new warden and other executive staff was made possible by $53.7 million in federal funding included in the fiscal year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill for the activation of Thomson prison.

“For many, this has been a long, slow journey and I understand the frustration felt by the Thomson community. But today’s announcement is proof positive that there is steady progress being made in the effort to get this top-notch facility up and running as a federal prison,” Durbin said. With Warden Hudson’s appointment, there will be a BOP presence in Thomson on a day-to-day basis and a high-ranking official for members of the community to engage. In the coming months, Congresswoman Bustos and I hope to be able to announce the next round of funding needed for the activation has been secured. Less than two years after Thomson became a BOP facility, the federal government has invested more than $220 million in this prison and has begun to hire the senior staff to run it. With those senior positions in place, we’re well positioned to hit the ground running once the fiscal year 2015 appropriation bill is approved. I’m confident that our collective hard work and patience is about to pay off. The activation of Thomson prison remains among my highest priorities. There’s no doubt how important it is to the economic future of northern Illinois.”

“We’ve fought hard to get to this point, but I’m thrilled that today we’re making this important announcement that helps put a face on the future of this facility,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “We continue to defeat attempts to stop progress on Thomson prison’s opening, such as the one earlier this summer in the House of Representatives, and I won’t rest until the opening and activation of Thomson are fully complete. Thomson prison is critical not only because it will alleviate overcrowding of our nation’s prison system, but it will create over a thousand jobs locally and be an economic shot in the arm to a region that continues to struggle with high unemployment.”

In March, Durbin and Bustos announced that the BOP has committed $53.7 million in funding to the activation of Thomson prison. The funding was approved by Congress in January as part of the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014. Of this funding, $10 million was designated for renovation while $43.7 million will be used for staffing and equipment purchases and upgrades. The full activation of 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. The Senate’s fiscal year 2015 appropriation bill includes an additional $58 million for the activation of the prison. That bill is moving through the Appropriations process currently underway in Washington.