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Warden hired for Thomson Correctional Facility

Full activation of prison expected to take 2 years

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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