Spending bill has funds to open Thomson prison

WASHINGTON (AP) - The massive spending bill worked out by congressional negotiators includes money to open the Thomson prison in northwestern Illinois.

The state owned the facility for about a decade but never fully opened it because of budget problems. The federal government bought it for $165 million in 2012.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos announced Monday that the money is included in the appropriations bill filed this week in the House and Senate.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels says Thomson is needed to reduce overcrowding at high-security federal prisons.

Durbin says it will also bring hundreds of jobs.

It won’t be fully operational until after renovations that are expected to cost $25 million and take two years. Another $170 million is needed for equipment and staffing.

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