WASHINGTON--Gov. Quinn, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the acquisition of an Illinois prison to house detainees now at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, said the state of Illinois will recoup the costs to build the Thomson Correctional Center--and then some.
The prison cost $145 million to build in 2001; due to a cash crunch, the maximum security facility was never fully opened. A state advisory commission meets in a week in Sterling, Ill. to go over the federal proposal. Quinn has the sole authority to decide if the prison should be sold, and he and Durbin have been champions of the project.
Obama instructed the Bureau of Prisons on Tuesday to start the process of buying the prison from the state. The Department of Defense will lease a portion to house Guantanamo detainees; Durbin said they would number under 100, though the White House has refused to say.
Standing outside the West Wing, Quinn said the state will seek appraisals for the prison and he will seek to "sell it to the federal government for the fair market value," he said.
Quinn told me he expected to make more than $145 million, but did not set a number.