Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday that a proposal to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay at a near-empty prison in rural Illinois would amount to a jobs engine for their state, while at least one critic warned that the move could make the local community a terrorist target.
The maximum-security Thomson Correctional Facility, about 150 miles west of Chicago, is one of several evaluated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and emerged as a leading option to house the detainees.
A "Democratic official" also said that this move would pump $1 billion into the local economy. Of course, this official, unnamed, never cited how they came to this conclusion. In defending the decision, Dick Durbin said this.
But Quinn and Durbin accused Republicans of fear-mongering. They said the facility would be secure, would be located in a remote area and would hold fewer than 100 detainees.
"For those in politics who want to stir up fear, you ought to be ashamed of yourself," Quinn said, adding that the local community is supportive of the proposal.
I'm having trouble squaring a prison in a remote area housing less than 100 people generating $1 billion to the local economy. What is this local community? If this area is "remote", there is no LOCAL community. There should be no community at all.
The jail is located just outside of Thomson, Illinois. There were less than 600 people in the village of Thomson as of the last census. There's currently 200 minimum security prisoners in Thomson Correctional. The prison was supposed to go through a major overhaul early this decade but that never materialized. Thomson, according to its village president Jerry Hebeler, has been struggling financially ever since.