Durbin, Bustos commend president for activation of Thomson Prison in budget proposal

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (IL-17) today commended President Obama’s decision to include funding for the activation of the Thomson correctional facility in Thomson, Illinois in his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal which was delivered to Congress earlier today.

President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget includes a request for $166.3 million to begin the activation of Thomson prison and two other prisons, acquire 1,000 private contract beds and to expand a program to reduce recidivism rates. If fully funded by Congress, the President’s budget would likely cover the entire cost of upgrades and renovations to the facility. The full activation of Thomson prison is expected to take two years at a cost of $25 million in fiscal year 2014 for upgrades and renovations and $168 million in fiscal year 2015 for equipment and staffing.

“It’s very clear today that President Obama views the activation of Thomson prison as a high priority for America’s prison system” said Durbin, who has been working with the Obama Administration and the State of Illinois on the purchase of Thomson prison since 2009. “The Thomson prison will help reduce serious prison overcrowding, create over 1,100 jobs and bring millions of dollars in new economic activity to Illinois. I will work with Congresswoman Bustos to preserve this Presidential priority.”

“I’m pleased that President Obama agrees that opening Thomson prison is a high priority,” said Congresswoman Bustos, who sent a letter last week to President Obama requesting that funding for Thomson be included in his 2014 budget proposal. “Thomson prison would not only alleviate overcrowding of our prison system, but it would also be an economic shot in the arm to a region that continues to struggle with high unemployment. Now that the President has signaled his support for Thomson, it is time for Congress to appropriate the funds necessary to make sure the opening of Thomson prison remains on track.”