Guantanamo Prisoners too Dangerous to Release May be Moved to Northern Illinois Prison

November 16, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Officials were set to tour a near-empty Illinois prison  prison on Monday, being considered  among the US locations to house transferred Guantanamo detainees, the Obama administration announced Sunday. Governor Pat Quinn and President Barack Obama reportedly discussed a federal purchase of the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson during Quinn’s visit to Washington on November 4. Less than 100 detainees would be housed in a separate facility within the maximum security prison located 150 miles west of Chicago, said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate. That facility would be run by the defense department and would hold “the only group of Guantanamo detainees” on US soil, Durbin told reporters.  The purchase would bring a desperately needed $200 million to the state government, and create 3,000 new jobs in the local economy.
Like every issue today, this looks like another split down party lines with Republican opposition already building. If the administration plans to move prisoners to the  U.S.  who aren’t set for legal proceedings, it must persuade Congress to overturn legal restrictions barring such transfers other than for trial. Up to two dozen prisoners have been judged too dangerous to release, but the government believes there isn’t enough evidence to try them in either a civilian or military court. Other Guantanamo prisoners are cleared for release, but lack countries willing to accept them. Originally, the White House set a closure deadline of January for  Guantanamo, but it now says that is likely to slip.

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