QUESTIONS REMAIN ABOUT SALE OF THOMSON
The potential sale of a state prison to the federal government continued to raise questions and concerns during the week.
The purchase of Thomson Correctional Center as a facility to house federal prisoners, including detainees from Guantanamo Bay, continues to drive debate amongst government officials and Illinois residents. Illinois needs to consider numerous factors before the state proceeds with any sale.
More information needs to be provided, including facts addressing security concerns, confirmation on whether lawmakers should weigh in on the sale, and a proposal outlining the sale of the facility and how proceeds from the sale of the prison would be used. Illinois still owes about $80 million on the prison.
Governor Quinn continues to insist that he can sell the facility by declaring it "surplus property." However, lawmakers say that could set a dangerous precedent that could apply to virtually every piece of state property. Other lawmakers believe that if the federal government offers to purchase Thomson, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability must hold hearings on the potential facility closure, which is required by state law.
As a member of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, I sent a letter to the Attorney General on November 16, asking for her opinion regarding the proposed transfer of the Thomson facility to the federal government.