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Gov. Quinn predicts Congress will block Guantanamo prisoners from Illinois prison

By ABDON M. PALLASCH

Sun-Times Political Reporter

CHICAGO–Gov. Quinn said today that the Thomson Correctional Center in Northwest Illinois might not be used for Guantanamo Bay-transferred enemy combatants after all.

But it would still be used as a federal prison, the governor said.

The state would sell the mothballed state prison to the federal government. The money would be used to help pay off the bonds sold to build the prison. Any leftover money would be used to help the state budget, Quinn said.

Recent votes in congressional committees show “the mood in Congress” seems to be against moving accused terrorists to the mainland, Quinn said.

“I think it’s less likely given the mood in Congress on this issue of detainees,” Quinn said.

But whether it’s filled with detainees or garden-variety federal prisoners, the state of Illinois can still make money selling the never-opened facility to the federal government, Quinn said.

“We are doing the appraisal process now,” Quinn said. “We anticipate having a federal prison in Thomson this year. They are overcrowded at the federal level. The proceeds of the sale will be used to retire some of the bonds. The remainder will be devoted to capital.”