The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons has designated $53.7 million in funding for the activation of Thomson Correctional Center, according to an announcement by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL,17).
Some $10 million of the funds will be set aside for the renovation of the long-delayed facility. The remaining $43.7 million will be put towards staffing, equipment purchases and upgrades.
“This investment by the Bureau of Prisons in Thomson prison means that construction can soon begin, workers can soon compete for good-paying jobs and Northern Illinois will no longer be home to an empty prison,” Bustos said in a statement.
The U.S. government agreed to purchase Thomson from the state back in 2012 for use as a maximum-security federal prison to alleviate overcrowding in the federal prison system.
Durbin added that the $53.7 million in funding is a "significant investment in the economic future of Northern Illinois.”
“It’s a sure sign that work will begin soon in Thomson and confirms, without a doubt, that the Obama Administration remains firmly committed to opening and operating Thomson prison," the senator added.
Thomson's complete activation is expected to take two years. The effort is projected to cost $25 million for upgrades and renovations as well as about $170 million for equipment and staffing.
In February, Durbin and Bustos sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting funding for Thomson's second phase of activation.