Thomson Correctional has been chosen to be Gitmo North. It’s just 125 miles from my home. The prison is currently owned by the State of Illinois and is underused. It’s not underused because there aren’t enough state prisoners. It’s just underused. Sen Dick Durbin (D) and Governor Quinn (D) think this is a great idea to sell the prison to the Federal Government, upgrade it to a Federal Maximum Security Facility and hold trials there. They say it will bring in a lot of jobs to the area.
What a crock of sh*t. Wasn’t the original construction of the prison supposed to bring in a lot of jobs? It probably did for a while, while the construction was going on. Thomson, Illinois still only has a population of 600 souls.
The Illinois Times reported on November 25th that:
The IDOC Web site shows that 25 of Illinois’ 28 prisons are operating over capacity, with at least three prisons holding more than double their capacity of prisoners. Compiling the online data shows Illinois prisons hold about 44,000 inmates – almost 14,000 inmates over their combined capacity of about 30,000. Those numbers do not include the state’s adult transitional centers, some of which are overcrowded as well.
The prison was opened in 2006 at a cost of ~ $145 million. As of the 2008 Annual Report, it is a Min/Max Security facility that holds 0 maximum security prisoners and only 144 minimum security prisoners. The prison has 1600 max security beds and that section of the prison has never opened. The minimum security side has 200 beds. There are 15 buildings. There are the 1600 cells and eight housing units in addition to the 200 bed minimum security section. Total building space is 625,000 square feet on 146 acres.
Durbin was just re-elected again in 2008 so he’s safe for another 5 years. Quinn on the other hand will need to be elected in 2010 in order to hold on to the Governor’s seat he fell into when Blagojevich (D) was impeached earlier this year.
Illinois primaries will be held in February. Quinn, even though he is the “incumbent” has primary challengers. With a majority of Illinoisans against bringing Gitmo north, his Dem opponents in the primary would do well to play this up. If Quinn should win the primary, his Republican and Independent opponents would also do well to play this up. Hopefully Quinn will only have this partial term as governor under his belt.