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Is the Illinois Prison Safe?

Is the Illinois Prison Safe?

Protesters gather outside a Illinois legislative hearing Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 in Sterling, Ill. (AP Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

December 23, 2009

STERLING, Ill. — Federal officials tried on Tuesday to allay fears that moving terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a rural western Illinois prison could make the state a terrorist target.

The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Harley Lappin, told a legislative panel that a new perimeter fence and other measures would make Thomson Correctional Center “the most secure of all federal prisons in the country.”

Illinois Policing

Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sell the prison to the federal government to house detainees and for a maximum-security federal prison, and Tuesday’s public hearing probably will not change that. The 12-member Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability could vote on a recommendation to sell the prison that skirts the Mississippi River, but the governor does not have to follow the recommendation and Quinn, who was en route to Germany, did not attend the meeting.

The hearing adjourned Tuesday night, and the commission said it would not vote on the proposal before Jan. 14.

Many in Thomson, about 20 miles from Sterling, and other northwest Illinois communities say they welcome the estimated 3,000 jobs that the White House says would be generated by the prison. But opponents say the move is too risky.

“Terrorists would want to hit us to make a point, here in the Midwest, in the American heartland,” protester Amanda Norms said before the meeting. “Is a little economic gain worth the risk?”

Jay Alan Liotta, the Defense Department’s principal director in the office of detainee policy, insisted the area would be safe.

“Allow me to be perfectly clear: The security of the facility and that of the surrounding community is our paramount concern,” he told the panel.

Earlier in the day, members of the media got a glimpse of the prison. Many of its interior common areas, including library and classroom space, are still gleaming eight years after the facility’s construction. The outside is more forbidding, with barbed wire atop fences and guard towers.

  • 005_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This is not good, not only is it very dangerous for the residents, but for American's all over. This would make That state a massive target. I don't want terrorists here, they belong somewhere else!!

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    over 4 years ago


    I don't think this move is good for two reasons, (1) It will cost more money is the long term to update the Prison that will house these individuals, (2) We are dealing with the enemy we don't know. A cause and effect situation will develop on our soil for this move. Keep your head up my law enforcement family!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Oh please!! Are these some kind of "supermen"! During the last war, we housed nazi pows throughout this country, many of which, were allowed to virtually run free. We have some serious psychotics in prisons all over the place, mass murderers, rapist, and much worse. If you want to use politics as an excuse for disputing everything that the present administration does, so be it. But to convince oneself that these few hundred people are so a danger to us that they must be confined outside the US is ludicrous.

  • 71476_max50


    over 4 years ago


    As an Illinois resident, I don't WANT any favors from Obama!! His measures for overspending (along with the rest of the Illinois politicians the last 4 years) are what got us in this financial mess in the first place, and we don't need any "bailout" that is really just more debt in disguise. Use Thomson for what it was designed for, a State of Illinois prison. That will provide the same number of jobs and help the state, without bringing all the baggage that terrorism detainees will undoubtedly "provide" with their presence.

  • 47b8df02b3127cce98549b9f69c200000027108acn2jlo2atc_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This whole fiasco is obviously an Obama favor to his home state and I hope there is an investigation into who will profit from this multi-million dollar, tax payer funded, scam. There have got to be other places to put the scum bags that won't cost the American people more money!! I'm sick of the politics!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    This prison changed my little town from the first shovel of dirt removed from the ground. To me it is a monument to failure all of the way around, but it is here and costing the tax payers of Illinois everyday to pay for a poorly planned investment. I could see federal felons being sent here, but not terrorists. Maybe they should be sent back to point of origin, or possibly shot while trying to escape?

  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I will safe my comments on this one for later, I would like to know more first.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    If they can't keep the White House safe from intruders how are they going to keep terrorists out?
    This is sheer madness. Keep them in Gitmo where they belong.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    We'll see! I will reserve my comments on this for a later time.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Gitmo is the place for the Unlawful Combatants, not the heartland of America. The fact that nobody has tried to break out anybody out of Gitmo yet speaks for itself.

  • 101_0072_max50


    over 4 years ago


    If we do bring Gitmo into the United States it should be far out in the middle or no where. Better yet the New Mexico atomic bomb testing site!

  • 1979_max50


    over 4 years ago


    They are placing the citizens of that area in grave danger. There WILL be attempts to either free these terrorists or hit the prison with suicide bombs. We are dealing with irrational people here folks. The only reason we didn't have trouble in Gitmo is because you simply cannot get in or near the place and it is a totally military installation with lots of perimeter security protected by a damn minefield!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Since the feds are so good at waisting out tax dollars why not do this. Purchase a small island, or one already in U.S. waters. Like, Oh lets say the islands around Puarto Rico that the navy uses for bombing practice. Build a prison there. Little or no access, other than by water or air. Stuck out in the middle no where not in the middle of the U.S. Just an idea, not any more stupid than the one being considered.

  • Bdulrge7old_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Another great idea.......NOT!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Off course is not....
    Not for Unlawful Combatants.... Anyway.

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