WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos boasted this week that a warden had been hired to oversee Thomson Correctional Center, which is about to be opened after 13 years as a lockup for federal criminals.
Wednesday, the Daily Caller brought up a question that's been on the minds of people in the area, who protested loudly in 2009 when Durbin first suggested using Thomson for Gitmo prisoners. Will once again the debatae over transferring international terrorists from Gitmo to U.S. soil return, and is that what Senator Durbin and President Obama are preparing to do with Thomson Prison?
The Daily Caller's Patrick Howley thinks so.
Thomson Prison, which houses 1,600 cells, installed a new warden Tuesday. President Obama gave the federal government control of Thomson prison in 2009 through the Department of Justice. Obama planned to move Guantanamo refugees into the prison until Republicans blocked funding for detainee transfers.
Since then, Obama has unilaterally released a number of Guantanamo prisoners including five senior Taliban leaders. Democrats would still like to see detainees moved there, and have repeatedly used the talking point that a new transferred-terrorist unit managed by the Defense Department would stimulate the local economy in Carroll County.
Illinois Review spoke with Congressman Adam Kinzinger about the plans for Thomson in June. He said the President would have to bypass Congress to bring Gitmo detainees to Illinois.
"In my mind, there should always be concern [about the Obama Administration moving Gitmo detainees into Thomson] because as the President said back in 2009, they made it clear that’s what they wanted to do,” Kinzinger said. "We put it in the law that they could not do that, but we’ve seen the Administration act as if the law doesn’t matter - as in the Bergdahl release."
Kinzinger said he supports opening the Thomson prison to be used for domestic criminals because federal prisons are 53% overcrowded, and there is a need for Thomson and for jobs it would provide in the area.