Obama Asks for $237 Million To Buy Illinois Prison For Gitmo Detainees
By Ryan J. Reilly | February 1, 2010 11:50 am

The $29.2 billion Justice Department budget for fiscal 2011 proposed by President Barack Obama on Monday includes $237 million to purchase and upgrade a prison in Illinois to house detainees now housed at the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba, reports The Chicago Sun-Times.

According to The Sun-Times, the State of Illinois and the federal government are currently negotiating over the purchase price of the state-owned, but now vacant, Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois.

Reports The Sun-Times:

In a briefing with reporters on Sunday afternoon previewing the budget — the contents were embargoed until 6 a.m. Eastern time on Monday — White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said the acquisition of Thomson by the federal government would be “warranted” even in the absence of Guantánamo detainees, because more space was needed to house federal maximum security prisoners.

On the call, the briefers used two numbers to discuss the Thomson purchase and security upgrading needed — $250 million and $270 million. Asked to clarify, the Chicago Sun-Times was told the Justice Department fiscal 2011 request will include “$237 million to purchase, modify, and operate Thomson for a full year.

“This should not be viewed as the purchase price alone — it includes the cost of modifying and operating the facility for a year. The negotiation process with the State of Illinois regarding the purchase price is ongoing, and this number builds in flexibility depending on the final appraisals and final negotiated price with the state.”

Here are some of the other highlights from the president’s budget request, which is about $1.5 billion more than the budget that was enacted for fiscal 2010:

  • A $233 million increase for the FBI for national security work, intelligence gathering, technology, information sharing and infrastructure improvements.
  • A $302 million increase for retaining or hiring police officers.
  • A $120 million increase for combating violence against women.
  • $104 million for additional FBI and DOJ employees to investigate major financial fraud.
  • A $91 million increase for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces and the Drug Enforcement Administration to fight drug trafficking on the Southwest border.
  • A $90.3 million increase for national security, infrastructure improvements, and curbing violent and international organized crime.
  • $73 million for transferring, prosecuting and incarcerating Guantánamo Bay detainees.
  • $60 million for more Department of Health and Human Services and DOJ task forces. There are seven task  forces now and the budget request calls for 20.
  • A $23.5 million increase for the U.S. Attorneys to combat economic crimes, “preserve justice through civil enforcement,” E-Discovery and International Organize Crime initiatives.
  • A $17.8 million increase to better combat civil rights crimes.

Read the full DOJ budget request here and a fact sheet on the DOJ budget request here.

A briefing with reporters about the budget is scheduled at Justice Department headquarters in Washington this afternoon.

Andrew Ramonas contributed to this report.



  1. johnw1 says:

    If president obama weren’t an illinois resident, would Illinois accept the Gitmo detainees when no other state would?

  2. Lu Pierce says:

    Just say NO!!!! We don’t want them here in the US!!!!! And, we certainly don’t want them to have our Rights and tried in our civilian courts!!! What in the world are they trying to do to our America?

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