Prison Still Years Away from Opening

THOMSON (WIFR) – Stateliners can expect a big boost to the economy, if Thomson Prison gets activated. Today, congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Senator Dick Durbin stopped by to brief the tiny town on their progress.

“There’s not a week that goes by, where our legislative team doesn’t talk about this and what we can do to move this forward. This is among my highest priorities to mamake sure we move this along. So I want to give you my word on that,” Bustos said.

Earlier this summer, the Senate Appropriations Committee set aside 166 million dollars o open Thomson and two other prisons. Durbin says that’s likely enough to cover the costs of much needed upgrades and renovations to the facility, which has virtually sat vacant since it was built in 2001. Here’s where it gets a little complicated.

Before Thomson sees any of the money, the bill still needs to be debated on the senate floor, and in a senate-house conference committee.
“The impact here will be pretty much status quo with what we're doing right now. Hiring will not start beyond that point. We don't have the luxury in our budget to be able to put resources in Thomson until we get an appropriation passed,” said Bill Dalius with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Once the 2014 budget gets passed, Durbin says it will take about two-years to get Thomson prison up and running.

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