U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today released the following statement regarding the Federal Government's purchase for $165 million of the Thomson Correctional Center in western Illinois:
"Opening up Thomson Prison to federal inmates will bring more than 1,000 jobs and millions of dollars in new investments to this area and will alleviate the overcrowding in other maximum-security prisons thoughout the country. As long as no suspected terrorists from Guantanamo are moved here, I fully endorse the sale of Thomson to house federal inmates."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 12, 2012 and confirmed that the Obama Administration would never seek to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to Thomson Correctional Center.
In March 2011, Senator Kirk, Representatives Donald Manzullo (R-Rockford), and Bobby Schilling (R-Moline) toured Thomson Correctional Center and highlighted its potential use as a maximum-security prison. The Illinois Delegation wrote a letter to the President in March seeking guarantees the Administration would abandon efforts to send suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo to Thomson if the federal government purchased the vacant prison from the State of Illinois. Kirk, Manzullo, Schilling and other Illinois lawmakers became concerned when potential plans of moving Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Thomson became public in November 2009.