Illinois Prison to be the new Gitmo
2009-12-15 0:00


During his first day in office, President Obama signed an executive order to close the controversial prison on Guantanamo Bay.

Throughout this year, efforts have been made to relocate prisoners to third countries. This has not been easy as many allied countries are not keen on accepting prisoners from GITMO that are deemed terrorists by the U.S.

It has been accepted, for some time, that the end of year deadline for closure of Guantanamo would not be met. As this has been one of President Obama's priorities, efforts have been made to find a facility and location within the U.S. for relocation of GITMO prisoners.

Today the Administration is expected to announce that the acquisition of the eight year old Thompson Correctional Center, about 150 miles west of Chicago, Illinois.

A view of the maximum-security Thomson Correctional Facility is seen on Saturday in Thomson, Ill. (AP)

The prison which is under utilized will be upgraded to a supermax standard. It is anticipated that the upgrade will take approximately six months.

Congressional approval to hold GITMO prisoners in the U.S. for other than trial purposes will be required.

CHICAGO -- Dozens of terrorism suspects being held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be moved to a little-used Illinois state prison that will be acquired and upgraded by the federal government, an Obama administration official said.

The critical step toward fulfilling President Obama's pledge to shut the Guantanamo detention center will be announced Tuesday, said the official, who reported that Obama has ordered the acquisition of the eight-year-old Thomson Correctional Center, about 150 miles northwest of Chicago.

Obama made the move despite the objections of Illinois Republicans, who fear the transfer of prisoners -- some for indefinite detention, some for trial -- could make the state a target for terrorists. Rep. Mark Kirk has called the move "an unnecessary risk."


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