Federal Government Reaches Deal to Buy Thomson Prison

THOMSON, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois' top leaders say the federal government will purchase Thomson Correctional Center in western Illinois for $165 million.

The prison's sale has been stalled for years, most recently because of opposition from a Virginia Republican who chairs a subcommittee overseeing the Bureau of Prisons.

Congressman Frank Wolf rejected the sale request because he believed terrorism suspects would be housed there. Federal officials say that's not true.

Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn announced the sale Tuesday, saying federal officials decided to go around Wolf and act on their own authority.

Durbin says it's an unusual move but not illegal.

Thomson was built in 2001. Budget troubles kept it from fully opening. It has 1,600 cells but housed fewer than 200 inmates before closing to prepare for a sale.


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