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Thomson CC Unofficial Website


Thomson Correctional Center was built between May 1999 and November 2001. Its completion cost $140 million, but the state omitted opening costs from the 2002 budget, and Governor George H. Ryan called for a delay to the opening to save $50 million per year in operating costs. By 2009, the total cost to the the state of Illinois exceeded $170 million.

The "Melon Capital of the World"

Thomson Chamber of Commerce Website

We have some of the finest watermelons and produce in the country. Thomson is at the intersection of Illinois Route 84 and Argo Fay Road nestled along the mighty Mississippi River, where Potter's Marsh (U.S. Corps of Engineers - Thomson Causeway Public Use Area) offers some of the finest camping in Northwestern Illinois. Thomson is also known for some of the finest duck hunting, deer hunting and turkey hunting in the state of Illinois. Fishing is great!! We have a wide variety of fish on the mighty Mississippi River, Huge Catfish, Walleye, Bass, Northern Pike, Bluegills and the list goes on and on.
If you are planning on a quiet vacation or want to do some camping, come and see what Thomson has to offer. Thomson is also the site of the Illinois Department of Corrections newest maximum security prison - a $145 million facility which remains unopened.

Guantanamo Treatment Better than Supermax
RadioVice Online, S. McDonough, Jan. 7, 2010

The New Gitmo:  Thomson, Illinois
Robert C. O'Brian, - Dec. 28, 2009

MARION - United States Prison

Note:  Marion (U.S. Prison) has been downgraded from Supermax to Medium Security

Mayor Says Marion Can Hold Gitmo Inmates
The Southern, June 17, 2009

Marion Becomes Medium Security Prison
The Southern (Illinoisan), January 11, 2007

Tourists View Former Supermax Prison
Marion Daily Republican, Jan. 13, 2007

From Alcatraz to Marion

U.S.P. Marion from an Ultralight Plane (Tom Kane Photo)

Official Information

A Brief History of Marion

U.S.P. - Marion Overview

Why Michael Williams was Sent to Marion

Supermax Reform Legislation
Julie Hamos - HB-2633

Suicide and Self-Mutilation
Human Rights Watch

Taken to the Max

Isolation of Mentally Ill Criticized
Chicago Tribune - 2002

How we Got the Security Housing Unit

The Prison Inside the Prison

Chad Briggs - Scrutinizing the Supermax

McCarthur Justice Center



THOMSON, ILLINOIS:  Newest U.S. Supermax Prison

Official Information

Thomson Correctional Center is a safe maximum-security environment. Prison design, movement patterns and programming options will allow a strong community of order to be maintained. Inmates will be monitored under constant armed and electronic surveillance. Education, mental health services, recreation and skilled development will be available to inmates as mandatory and or voluntary programming options. These choices, under professional guidance, are opportunities for inmates to enrich their lives with the tools necessary for successful living.

Thomson Correctional Center is a Level 1 adult male maximum-security facility comprised of 1,600 cells and eight housing units. The facility also has a 200-bed minimum-security unit. The facility is 146 acres and consists of 15 buildings, totaling 625,000 square feet. Construction in the cell houses is pre-cast, reinforced cement walls. The facility is enclosed by a 12-foot exterior fence and 15-foot interior fence, which includes a dual sided electric stun fence.

Currently only the 200-bed minimum-security unit is open with no opening date set for the main complex.

Transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees (from Wikipedia)

On December 15, 2009, President Barack Obama, via a Presidential memorandum, formally ordered the departments of Justice and Defense to arrange Federal ownership of the prison, and prepare for transfer there of both Federal prisoners and Guantanamo detainees.According to previous press reports, the acquisition plan contemplated housing there up to 100 inmates from the camp, in addition to other federal prisoners.The Federal Bureau of Prisons will erect a more secure perimeter fence, so its perimeter security exceeds supermax standards. The portion of the Thomson prison that will be used to house Guantanamo detainees will be operated by the Department of Defense, while the rest of the prison will be operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. CNN stated that before the decision was announced, many in the town welcomed the idea of Guantanamo prisoner housing in their town as the hopes will revitalize the town's economy and bring jobs.

For and Against
The Galena Gazette, Dec. 29, 2009

Jobs Trump Worries
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dec. 27, 2009

A Fate Worse than Gitmo
The Daily Beast, Dec. 23, 2009

Guantanamo Inmate Transfer "Wonderful"
Mira Oberman, Agence France Presse, Dec. 19, 2009

TAMMS - Illinois' State Supermax Prison

Rising Criticism of Tamms, Illinois Supermax
James Ridgeway, Solitary Watch, Jan. 2, 2010

(Photo by Daniel Owens)

Official Information

Stateville Speaks - Loyola

Stateville Speaks - Supermax

A Brief History of Tamms

Scrutiny Promised for Illinois Supermax Prison
AP, May 16, 2009

Gov. Seeks Review of Supermax
Chicago Tribune, May 13, 2009

A Look Inside Illinois Only Supermax Prison
Chicago Tribune, Feb. 27, 2009

Inside Illinois' super-max security prison

Hell in a Cell
Jeffrey Felshman, Chicago Reader, April 24, 2008

Tamms Year Ten

Life in Tamms Supermax Prison

Rights of Mentally Ill Prisoners at Tamms

Tamms' Litigation Settlement Agreement

Westefer v. Snyder (7th Cir., 2005) (Opinion and Order)

Rasho v. Snyder (Order Denying Class Certification)