Durbin upbeat on progress of northwestern Illinois' Thomson Correctional Center

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says there's progress in making a northwestern Illinois prison fully operational.

The Illinois Democrat's Washington office on Tuesday released a statement about the Thomson Correctional Center after meeting with Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels.

Durbin says in the statement that Samuels confirmed "the activation" of Thomson "is on track."

The statement says nearly 250 staff positions have been filled and more than 90 minimum-security inmates have arrived at a prison satellite camp. Some 110 more are expected.

Illinois finished building the facility in 2001 but never fully opened it because of budgetary constraints. The federal government bought it for $165 million in 2012.

Durbin says he'll work to ensure the next appropriations bill out of Congress includes what he calls "robust funding" for the prison.

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