[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Charles Samuels, to discuss the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to acquiring Thomson Correctional Center and opening it as a maximum-security federal prison – a move that would alleviate overcrowding in the federal prison system and create more than 1,100 jobs in Northwest Illinois.
Durbin will speak with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn later today about moving forward with the project despite news last week that Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) had rejected the Department of Justice’s latest request to reprogram existing funds for the purchase of Thomson.
“Partisan politics and the personal feelings of one Congressman from Virginia, Republican Frank Wolf, shouldn’t be able to stand in the way of a project that is important to our nation’s prison system and our local economy,” said Durbin. “I thank Director Samuels for meeting with me today to discuss how the purchase of Thomson would help alleviate federal prison overcrowding and increase the safety of the system’s prison guards. Governor Quinn and I agreed to continue working with the Obama Administration to find a way to open Thomson prison and bring 1,100 new jobs to our state.”
Last week, the Department of Justice sent to Congress a new request to reprogram existing funds within the Department that can be used to acquire and activate Thomson Correctional Center. Congressman Wolf objected to the request to reprogram funding for the purchase of Thomson prison based on a fear that Guantanamo Bay detainees would be transferred to the prison despite the fact that it was made clear over a year ago, in an April 4, 2011 letter, that the Obama Administration abandoned that plan. Last month, in response to questions from Durbin during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in June, Holder again confirmed under oath that the Obama Administration will never seek to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to Thomson Correctional Center, but remains committed to purchasing Thomson and opening it as a maximum-security federal prison.
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