A key state legislator wants to fast-track hearings on the possible sale of a northwestern Illinois prison to the federal government. A sale of Thomson Correctional Center would open the way for the U.S. to one day house Guantanamo Bay detainees there.
Gov. Pat Quinn's administration filed its recommendation for closing Thomson this week, a a critical step toward what Quinn officials hope will be its eventual sale.
Schoenberg, an Evanston Democrat, co-chairs a panel that reviews state-facility closings.
"I support the idea of closing the Thomson facility and negotiating a fair price with the federal government for them to acquire the facility," Schoenberg said. "The area's desperate for jobs and this would appear to be a responsible way to boost the local economy."
Thomson is one location being considered as the Obama administration looks to relocate detainees. President Obama has frequently voiced a desire to close the military-run detention center in Cuba.
Although many Republicans have raised concerns that putting terrorism suspects into the prison would put Illinoisans at risk, Schoenberg dismissed the fears.
"This is not like the 'Field of Dreams,' where if you build it, they will come," Schoenberg said.