Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote,
“With respect to your suggestion to move forward whether (or not) detainees from Guantanamo are moved there, the President has directed the Department of Justice to acquire the facility to fulfill both the goals of reducing federal prison overcrowding and transferring a limited number of detainees out of Guantanamo.”
So, Illinois will have two really secure Federal prisons. One at Marion in Southern Illinois and one at Thomson in Northwestern Illinois.
And the goal of Governor George Ryan to provide jobs to his constituents up there will be fulfilled…if eight years after it could have been, had Democratic Party successor Rod Blagojevich been alert enough to rent out the space for imported prisoners from other states.
Below is the text of the letter Manzullo received:
This responds to your letter to the President, dated November 30,2009, expressing strong support for establishing a federal prison at the Thomson, Illinois Correctional Center. We agree with your assessment that the facility “is ideally suited to help the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons meet their growing demands for more prison capacity.”
As you stated in your letter, Harley Lappin, Director of the Bureau of Prisons, has briefed you and other Members of the Illinois congressional delegation numerous times about the critical overcrowding problem in the federal prison system, including a particularly urgent need for “supermax” type bedspace. Director Lappin has also been working closely with local and state officials on the process of obtaining appraisals and meeting other federal and state requirements for the sale.
With respect to your suggestion to move forward on the acquisition regardless of whether detainees from Guantanamo are moved there, the President has directed the Department of Justice to acquire the facility to fulfill both the goals of reducing federal prison overcrowding and transferring a limited number of detainees out of Guantanamo. The Department has made clear, however, that it would be seeking to purchase the facility in Thomson even if detainees were not being considered for transfer there. (Emphasis added.)
As you may know, the Department of Justice requested $237 million in its Fiscal Year 2011 budget to acquire, activate, and operate the facility in Thomson. We appreciate your support for this request and look forward to working with you as this process moves forward.