Guantanamo inmates to be transferred to Illinois

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Location of Thomson in Illinois

The White House is expected to announce today that some of the inmates from the United States' controversial detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are to be relocated to a prison facility, to be acquired by the Federal Government, on the US mainland.

The Thomson Correctional Center in north-western Illinois is expected to accommodate around 100 prisoners from the Cuba base. The closure of the camp is a key policy for US President Barack Obama and an unnamed White House official is quoted as saying "Closing the detention centre at Guantanamo is essential to protecting our national security and helping our troops by removing a deadly recruiting tool from the hands of al-Qaeda". Thomson prison, in Thomson, Illinois, approximately 150 miles from Chicago, is expected to be sold to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and, in turn, part leased to the Department of Defense will hold both federal prisoners and detainees from Guantanamo in the same facility.

Illinois State Governor Patrick J. Quinn and Richard J. Durbin, the state’s senior senator, are expected to be briefed about the plan at the White House this (Tuesday) afternoon. Both Democrats, the senators have previously campaigned for the prisoners to be located in Thomson in the hope that it would bring jobs to the local economy as well as making use of a near empty prison complex. However, Republican congressmen for Illinois, Representatives Mark Steven Kirk and Donald Manzullo have expressed skepticism, claiming the move could make Illinois a target for terrorism.