WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) today released the following statements after the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced the new mission for the Thomson, Illinois federal prison.  Durbin and Bustos, and members of Duckworth’s staff, also met with BOP Acting Director Hugh Hurwitz today to discuss the continued activation of the Thomson prison, in which Acting Director Hurwitz committed to complete activation of the facility by the end of 2019 and an expected staff of up to 600 employees in total.  The Thomson prison will open as a high-security institution and will include some specialized units.

“The activation of the Thomson prison will alleviate overcrowding in the Federal prison system and promote economic growth in the region,” said Durbin.  “We’ve long been awaiting today’s announcement by BOP of the Thomson prison’s mission.  I will continue to work with Senator Duckworth and Representative Bustos to push for robust federal funding and resources to continue the activation and ensure that the facility operates in a safe, responsible, and humane manner.”

“This announcement is an overdue but positive step that will help bring jobs to Thomson and support economic development in the region while also helping address our Federal prison overcrowding crisis,” said Duckworth.  “I’m proud to continue working with Senator Durbin and Congresswoman Bustos to ensure this facility can support its new mission and is eventually fully activated.”

“We have worked hard to help ensure a mission for the hardworking men and women at Thomson and I’m proud that we’re delivering on this promise by creating hundreds of new, good-paying jobs,” said Bustos.  “While we must do more to address the ongoing problem of high incarceration rates, we have a very clear and present problem with overcrowding in prisons and, with this announcement, Thomson is going to do its part.  I look forward to monitoring the progress being made in implementing this new mission and appreciate the partnership we’ve formed to reach this milestone.”