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Warden hired for Thomson Correctional Facility

Full activation of prison expected to take 2 years

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 10:35 a.m. CDT
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(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Donald Hudson listens as senator Dick Durbin introduces him as the new warden of the Thomson Correctional Facility, which was built in 2001 and bought by the federal government last year.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin gestures while speaking during a press conference Monday afternoon at the Thomson Correctional Facility. Durbin was on hand as Donald Hudson (foreground) was named warden of the long-awaited facility.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
State Rep. Cheri Bustos speaks Monday afternoon about the naming of a warden of the long-dormant Thomson Correctional Facility. Medium-security inmates will be brought in over the next few months to help with upkeep, and the goal is for high-security inmates to be brought in by the end of next year. "It's time to deliver," Bustos said, "and we're going to help deliver this."
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Thomson Village President Vicky Trager speaks Monday about the naming of a warden to the long-dormant correctional facility.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Residents and community leaders listen during a press conference Monday afternoon at the Thomson Correctional Facility. The federal government, which bought the facility built in 2001 last year, named a warden Monday.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Speakers on a panel address the media and members of the community Monday afternoon during the naming of the warden to the Thomson Correctional Facility.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Charles Samuels (left), director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Sen. Dick Durbin enter a press conference Monday afternoon to announce the naming of the warden to the Thomson Correctional Facility.

THOMSON – A warden has officially been hired to oversee the long-awaited Thomson Correctional Facility – 13 years after the maximum-security prison was built.

At a news conference Monday inside the visitation room of the never-used state prison, officials introduced that man as Donald Hudson. Hudson has worked in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons since 1990 and was most recently warden at a medium-security federal institution in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania.

He said he got the news on Friday that he’d been hired, and will be moving to town in a few weeks.

“I’m just ecstatic to be back in the Midwest,” said Hudson, who was born and raised in Kansas City. “It’s good for me, good for my family.”

The next step will be to continue to update the federal prison and begin hiring additional staff – about 300 people in the first phase, with an additional 800 to be hired over time.

Two hundred minimum-security inmates will be brought in during the next few months to perform the basic jobs of keeping the prison running, like landscaping and food service.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos, both Democrats, were on hand to make the announcement with the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Charles Samuels, and Thomson Village President Vicky Trager.

“It’s time to deliver,” Bustos said, “and we’re going to help deliver this.”

Samuels explained it would take about 2 years to fully activate the prison, which will be the nation’s 121st federal penitentiary. High-security inmates could begin arriving by the end of next year, he said, and eventually the prison will hold 1,900 high-security inmates.

The Bureau of Prisons has allocated $53.7 million to open the prison. Of that, $10 million will be used to renovate, and $43.7 million will be used for staffing and equipment.

Fully activating the prison is expected to take 2 years at a cost of $24 million for additional upgrades, and $170 million for staffing and equipment.

After the prison was built, the state never allocated the money for operations. Its sale to the federal government was completed last year.

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