UPDATE: AFGE Local 4070, Council of Prison Locals #33, AFL-CIO, United States Penitentiary Thomson Illinois issued the following statement March 10:
Since being notified of the temporary mission change, the Union has been contacting legislators and raising concerns. AFGE Local 4070 has worked with Congress to help secure a 25% pay raise and funding for affordable housing and daycare centers in areas around USP Thomson. With the possibility of a reduction in the number of staff from 604 to 250 staff we are very concerned. The local community was promised over 600 jobs and if these jobs are cut, it would devastate the local community. We are fighting to keep every job at USP Thomson.
The prison is authorized for 604 staff. While the BOP has said no jobs will be lost, USP Thomson will not be rehiring people if they quit.Jon Zumkehr, President AFGE USP, Thomson
The staff at United States Penitentiary Thomson was informed Friday that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has recommended the facility temporarily house low security inmates.
According to a statement from the Office of Public Affairs, Thomson will house an estimated 1,178 low-security inmates.
The move is intended to relieve “overpopulation pressures” that the Federal Bureau of Prisons says it is experiencing at low-security facilities nationwide.
In February 2023, the Federal Bureau of Prisons moved all high-security inmates from Thomson to other facilities in the system.
Additional associate wardens have been assigned to assist with the transition of the facility and help provide oversight and training to Thomson staff.
The minimum security satellite camp will be unaffected throughout the transition of the institution.