AP NEWS

Durbin: Thomson prison is hiring

April 17, 2019

THOMSON – The goal: more than 800 inmates and 500 workers by the end of the year.

That’s that’s according to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who toured the federal prison in Thomson this afternoon.

“It’s a trip here to get an update on personnel and staffing,” the Illinois Democrat said at a news conference afterward.

“The goal is to have 800-900 inmates and 500 employees by the end of the year,” he said.

There are 397 inmates – 90 in the prison’s minimum security camp – and 217 employees at the prison now.

The information is in somewhat in line with previous reports: In October, the prison held a job fair at Sauk Valley Community College, and at the time, prison officials planned to fill up to 300 slots, with 300 more to be filled by the end of this year.

Some of those who applied for jobs then may hear from prison officials during this next round of hiring; others can go to the Bureau of Prison website, see what jobs are available and apply online. More than doubling that workforce means more people will need a place to live, and more will be spending paychecks to spend locally. Durbin said he plans to work with local village officials to accommodate both needs.

“With more jobs comes more housing. We want to engage local Realtors on housing with 300 more employees coming,” he said. “I, along with the warden, want to talk with local businesses so that they know the options available to them.”

Local officials will be pleased to see the increased economic activity that it will bring to the village.

The state finished building the prison at 1100 One Mile Road in 2001, but it sat empty for more than a decade because Illinois didn’t budget enough money to open it. In 2012, it was announced that the Bureau of Prisons would buy the facility for $165 million.

The prison is meant to alleviate overcrowding in the federal prison system and promote economic growth in the region.

When fully activated, it will house around 1,500 inmates