Gov. Pat Quinn says his decision to offer another state prison to the federal government will not doom the prison deal that has been in the works for three years. Some members of Illinois’ Republican Congressional Delegation have raised concerns that offering to sell Tamms Prison would kill a potential deal to sell Thomson Prison. Quinn disagrees.
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“Well that’s a lot of baloney,” Quinn said. “I was the one that came up with the idea of selling Thomson to the federal government.” Last month Quinn offered to sell Tamms to the federal government. A deal to sell Thomson to the Federal Bureau of Prisons has been in the works for two years. Quinn says members of Illinois’ congressional delegation should instead focus their energy on convincing U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who chairs the subcommittee that oversees prison spending, to approve the Thomson deal. “Our Illinois congressmen who are bringing this up need to talk to their colleague, Congressman Wolf, because he’s the one and only obstacle so far to getting this transaction completed,” Quinn said. Wolf has concerns that Thomson would be used to house Guantanamo Bay detainees, even though there have been assurances from The White House and administration officials against the idea.
Quinn says the state remains firm on the $165 million price for Thomson, despite some Illinois congressmen saying lowering the price could be the key to closing the deal.Thomson, built in 2003, was never fully opened because of budget constraints.