April 3, 2014

Feds budget $53.7 million for Thomson prison

See earlier: Obama’s budget includes money for Thomson prison purchase
4-3-2014 Illinois:

The U.S. Department of Justice will spend $53.7 million on Thomson Correctional Center for the 2014 fiscal year as efforts to open the prison as a federal institution begin to pick up steam.

Thomson was sold by the state of Illinois to the federal government for $165 million in 2012 after laying mostly vacant for years because the state could not find funds to operate it.

A total of $195 million for equipment, staffing and upgrades is required to open the prison for federal use. Once opened, the prison will employ around 1,100 workers.

On Thursday, officials with the Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons announced they would spend $53.7 million on Thomson for the 2014 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, to begin getting the prison ready for occupancy.

The money includes $10 million for renovations at the prison and $43.7 million for staff and equipment purchases, according to the office of Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Il.

Congress approved funding for prison construction, modernization and acquisition in January as part of a larger spending bill.

Thomson is still unlikely to open until 2016, as it's expected to take two years to get the prison ready, provided a second round of activation funding can be secured for next year.

"This is the news we've been waiting for," a statement from Sen. Durbin said. "The funding that the Bureau of Prisons reported to Congress today is a significant investment in the economic future of Northern Illinois."

The Department of Justice purchased the maximum-security prison to alleviate overcrowding in the federal prison system. ..Source.. by Eric Timmons

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