Durbin Statement On Temporary Conversion Of Thomson Prison To Low-Security Facility

Today’s announcement will not affect staffing levels at Thomson

CHICAGO  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement regarding the decision by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to temporarily convert United States Penitentiary (USP) Thomson into a low-security prison and enhance training for the hundreds of Thomson staff who will all remain employed at the institution:  

“Today’s announcement is good news for the Thomson facility—it remains part of the Federal prison system, with no elimination of staffing positions, and it will help relieve some of the current overpopulation pressures BOP is experiencing at low-security facilities nationwide.

“When Thomson was purchased by the Federal government more than ten years ago, one of our goals was to help address the urgent overcrowding problem at our nation’s Federal prisons, as well as make it the safest prison in the nation—for both incarcerated people and staff.  As part of these reforms and improvements, Thomson staff will have the opportunity to participate in intensive training to promote a more positive culture and ensure that Thomson is a safe and secure facility with a focus on rehabilitation and reentry. I look forward to seeing Thomson reach its full potential with this temporary conversion.”  

BOP moved all remaining individuals in the Special Management Unit (SMU) and Reintegration Unit (RU) from Thomson in February 2023.  Thomson will now house approximately 1,178 low-security adults, which will relieve some of the current overpopulation pressures BOP is experiencing at low-security facilities nationwide.  Thomson plans to begin receiving inmates the week of April 10, starting with one unit a month.  The adjacent Minimum Security Satellite Camp will be unaffected throughout the transition of the institution. 

Beginning in 2009, Durbin was instrumental in the acquisition and activation of Thomson Prison—converting it from a state correctional facility to a Federal prison.