Over the weekend, an unnamed White House official leaked word that the under-used Thomson Maximum Security Correction Center in Carroll County, Illinois, 150-miles west of Chicago, could be the new home of some of the remaining 200-plus prisoners at Gitmo. The Chicago Tribune reports:
In 2001, the state completed construction of the $145 million maximum-security institution to house the most dangerous inmates. A state budget crisis has left the prison practically unused for eight years, though. The prison has 1,600 cells yet is holding only 144 inmates.
Federal government officials toured the facility this morning, the Clinton Herald reports. Noting the potential positive economic impact on the small rural town, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn "called the plan an 'opportunity of a lifetime” and [Sen. Richard] Durbin said the measure could bring in more than 3,000 jobs and potentially inject more than $1 billion into the local economy over the first four years of operation."
However, there are indications that some members of Congress may seek to block the transfer of detainees to U.S. soil by introducing amendments that would create obstacles in the transfer of the detainees. Stay tuned for developments.