Atty. Gen. Holder Says Ill. Prison Won’t Hold Gitmo Detainees

Thomson Correctional Center/abc7 photo
By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON –– Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. on Monday gave assurances that a state prison the feds are interested in buying to hold maximum-security inmates won’t house detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

In an April 4 letter to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Holder wrote of the Thomson Correctional Center:

“While we are confident the Thomson facility would be amply secure enough to house such individuals, Congress has since prohibited the use of funds to transfer such detainees to the United States.

“The Administration opposed that restriction for the reasons set forth in the letter I sent to Senators Reid and McConnell on December 9, 2010. Nonetheless, consistent with current law, we will not transfer detainees from Guantanamo to Thomson, or otherwise house Guantanamo detainees at Thomson. The Thomson facility would only house federal inmates and would be operated solely by the Bureau of Prisons.”

The state of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons are currently in negotiations over the purchase, Durbin said in a press release.

Some had strongly voiced concerns about holding Gitmo prisoners at the nearly empty state facility in Thomson, Ill.,about two hours outside of Chicago.

In a statement, Durbin said:

“Governor Quinn has assured me that both the state and federal government have made significant progress in their negotiations and a purchase agreement is imminent. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to open this facility and create more than 1,100 jobs in Illinois.”


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