A memorandum from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) makes new, disturbing allegations against the federal prison in Thomson, Illinois.

In the memorandum addressed to Colette Peters, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons dated January 15, 2023, AFGE President Jon Zumkehr outlines startling events he says recently took place at the prison. “This past week we had five inmates locked up for escape from the USP Thomson prison camp. Warden Thomas Bergami has vacated critical posts at the Camp, which we believe lead (sic) to three inmates being locked up for escape on January 13, 2023, and a total of five inmates this week,” he states. “Inmates escaping into the community places the community and institution at risk.”

Zumkehr notes that over 50 cell phones were found at the prison camp in 2023 and says the union is demanding the facility be locked down until USP management stops vacating critical posts. This comes after a female staff member was sexually assaulted by an inmate when he grabbed her crotch. USP Thomson had 321 attacks on staff in 2022.