Sale of Illinois prison to Federal governor being blocked

By WEEK Producer

July 31, 2012 Updated Jul 31, 2012 at 10:43 PM CDT

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says the state of Illinois needs to sell the vacant Thomson prison to the federal government now.

The state built Thomson in 2001, but it's never been used.

Now, Illinois wants to sell the facility to the federal government, which would create some 1,100 jobs in the northwestern part of the state.

But, the sale has been blocked by Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Wolf is opposed to bringing Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the mainland and sees Thomson as a possible location for them, something that's been repeatedly denied by the Obama administration.

"Just one Republican congressman from Virginia says no. Just one. That's not fair to the people looking for 11-hundred good paying jobs and for the federal prison system which is overcrowded," said Senator Dick Durbin, (D) IL.

Republicans initially opposed an original plan to sell Thompson, but now some, including Senator Mark Kirk are backing the proposal.

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