Durbin Statement on Auction of Thomson

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after the auction of Thomson Correctional Center concluded earlier today.


“The federal Bureau of Prisons has informed me that, though they are still completing the necessary reviews of Thomson Correction Center, acquiring the facility is a top priority of the Obama Administration,” said Durbin. “I am encouraged that the negotiations between the State of Illinois and that federal government are ongoing. In anticipation of the two sides eventually agreeing on a price for the sale of Thomson, I have engaged the Attorney General to make sure that the funds are available for purchase. In Congress, the purchase of Thomson enjoys broad bipartisan support and I will work with my colleagues to secure the necessary funding.”


Because Congress was unable to come to an agreement on a spending bill for the Fiscal Year 2011 during the lame duck session, Durbin asked the Department of Justice yesterday to help identify unobligated funding for the acquisition of Thomson Correctional Center in Carroll County, Illinois, in order to open it as a federal maximum security prison. In his letter to the Attorney General, Durbin acknowledged that the Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons remains committed to purchasing Thomson Correction Center and both Democrats and Republicans in the Illinois and Iowa Congressional Delegations support the sale. The activation of Thomson Correctional Center by the federal government is expected to create more than 3,100 jobs and inject at least $1 billion into the region’s economy.


[Text of yesterday’s letter is below]


December 20, 2010


The Honorable Eric Holder

Attorney General

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530


Dear Attorney General Holder:


As you know, the State of Illinois and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons are engaged in a constructive process that will likely lead to the federal acquisition of the Thomson Correctional Center (Thomson) in Carroll County, Illinois, for the purpose of opening a maximum security prison.


I strongly support this project, as do other bipartisan members of the Illinois and Iowa Congressional Delegations. The sale of Thomson enjoys broad based local and state support and will lead to significant job creation and economic development in the region. The Bureau of Prisons believes that the acquisition of Thomson will help alleviate serious federal prison overcrowding.


I write today to ask you to help identify existing Department of Justice/Bureau of Prisons funds to allow for the acquisition of this facility.


Because Congress has not completed the Fiscal Year 2011 spending bills, the federal government is operating under a short term Continuing Resolution (CR) -- funding government operations until approximately March 4, 2011. I will attempt to include Thomson funding at the next appropriate opportunity. The House-passed year long CR and the Senate-drafted omnibus Appropriations bill both included the necessary funding for the federal acquisition of Thomson.


I look forward to working with you to ensure that the federal government has the funds necessary to purchase the Thomson Correctional Center from the State of Illinois as soon as the Federal-State negotiation process is complete.