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Local

Lawmakers to give prison update

Durbin, Bustos plan Thomson visit today

THOMSON – The effort to open a federal prison in Thomson will get high-level attention today.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, will meet with local leaders, including Thomson Mayor Vicky Trager, to give an update on the prison’s opening.

Also on hand will be Bill Dalius, assistant director for administration of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, who oversees facility and budget development. 

In July, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $166 million to reactivate Thomson and two other prisons. But with constant budget battles, the committee may not get what it wishes. 

The state built the 1,600-cell, maximum-security prison a decade ago, then decided it couldn’t afford to run it. It had been looking for a buyer for years. The federal government bought it last fall.

The prison is expected to bring 1,100 jobs and $200 million in annual economic impact to the area.

The full activation of Thomson prison is expected to take 2 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.

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