I guess HCR is sucking all the air out of the room, because I have seen very little in the way of freak-out over this:
The federal government will acquire Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Ill., transforming the prison in a sleepy town near the Mississippi River into a prison that exceeds “supermax standards,” according to a letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair.
Those departments “will work closely with state and local law enforcement authorities to identify and mitigate any risks” at the prison, the letter said.
The decision is an important step toward closing Guantanamo Bay. Thomson, about 150 miles from Chicago, is expected to house both federal inmates and no more than 100 detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
I’m sure the Republicans will pitch an absolute fit about “terrorists on our soil,” but this is, of course, ridiculous and ignores two big things. First, of course, is that Gitmo was never created for security reasons, as Jonathon Turley ably pointed out on one of the talk shows today. Gitmo was established so we could skirt domestic law.
Second, of course, is the fact that these will be REALLY, REALLY GOOD JOBS. It really never ceases to amaze me how out of touch the politicians who claim to speak for the little guy just don’t even have the first clue how good many people consider these jobs are and what they would do to get them. When I was in the National Guard, half the guys in my unit were corrections officers, and for their level of education, this was about the best job they would ever be able to get around here. The steel and glass mills are largely gone, a lot of the chemical plants are gone, and coal mining is so automated that it is hard to get on anywhere. A job making 40-50k a year with benefits and the possibility of overtime is the kind of job you can raise a family on. You can buy a modest house, get your kids braces and glasses, buy a new Chevy every couple of years, and if your wife works a part time somewhere, you can have a pretty good week at the beach every summer and a good Christmas every year. You don’t find too many jobs like that any more- everything is nickel and dime BS at Wal-Mart or other crap. Working as a corrections officer allows for a good life for a lot of people.
I’d be willing to bet anything that there are a lot of communities that would take on these detainees without even thinking twice about it.
I always find it curious, the mechanics of what gets people hopped up.
This was a big deal a few months ago, and now it’s just another news item.
I wish Osama was in my back yard. I would shoot him in the face and collect the bounty on his head. As opposed to pissing myself and going fetal position like the 101st Chairborne.
but but they are powerful and scary! they will melt the bars and escape.
Oh noez we has a scared,
*goes to hid under the bed*
Was that a good imitation of a Republican Congress person?
General Winfield Stuck
Americans , looking for an economic boost. Capitalism sure makes for strange battles, don’t it. And Sometimes the irony flows like shit through thru the sewer pipes.
I hope the security there is better than the security they had for Magneto.
There’s also the recent spate of parolees out for awful child rapes committing other crimes. Those people should have been in jail. If you want to argue that we can’t possibly hold the terrorists in a jail on US soil, then you need to admit we can’t hold the rapists and child molesters and thrill killers in jails on US soil, either. If the jails will hold the latter crew they will hold the former.
Good point about the prison jobs.
John, apparently the community wants the “terrorists,” for exactly the reasons you stated. When a Republican, I can’t remember who, started shouting about terrorists on our soil, the community told him/her to shut up.
For once, a community is acting according to their own interests. As someone in a prior post said, if Obama wasn’t black, more people and communities would.
And, to me this is sad — not that a community is finally speaking up, but that it is not happening more.
@General Winfield Stuck:
from an article at TPM
blockquote fail. I’m just going to go home now.
@Dave C: They are building the prison around The Hall of Justice . Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, the Wonder Twins, etc. can take care of any problems quickly on their lunch break.
I’m trying to muster enthusiasm for ‘prison guard’ being the last good job in America.
I saw a few minutes of tonight’s CBS news story on the prison. All the man on the street interviews in the town were very positive. One woman made the point that this town would probably be the safest one in the US, given the level of security at the prison. The total benefit to the local economy over 4 years was estimated at $1 billion.
It’s also funny that Obama was able to give his home state a big kiss without anyone shouting “pork”.
Pen jobs are a veritable godsend in economically depressed areas. Good for the people of Thomson for not letting their fear get in the way.
Sorry, I always get sick to my stomach when I hear about the great job opportunities produced by prisons. We have way too many people in prison already, and the economic incentive for coming up with new reasons to lock up more people longer to provide REALLY, REALLY GOOD JOBS is just disgusting. But maybe it can stop once half the population is in prison being guarded by the other half.
And, as someone already pointed out, we already hold “terrorists” on our soil…including the Oklahoma guys. There is just not enough wine to absorb the bullshit coming from the right these days…
When did the terrorists become supermen? Seriously. They would be confined to their cells 23 hours a day just like any serious criminal. WTF?
BTW, it appeared earlier that one of the Dakotas wasn’t afraid of these supermen, either. Good for them.
My uncle and aunt live in Thomson, a town of about 500. I saw the prison (from the outside, of course) when I visited there this past summer.
Indeed, jobs in that area are very few. The locals (for the most part) already worked through any angst they had about the prison years ago when it was built (and then largely left empty). Now it’s all about the jobs.
Leelee for Obama
I find it amazing how much the prison will generate, it’s pretty obvious there’s a reason why we have more people incarcerated than any other Western Democracy. Money. That being said, the people of Thomson, Illinois, are pretty practical souls and that’s encouraging. Imagine if the mayor there was like Andy McCarthy?
How long until some wingnut somewhere starts up the claim that the Islamist militant jailbreak in the Philippines over the weekend was just a dress rehearsal for an attempt to spring the Gitmo prisoners once we move them to the mainland… ?
Hmm. . .I’m not sure I like this proposal. If The Dark Knight taught us anything, it’s that the presence of superheroes is a powerful attracting force to insane criminal masterminds. Having The Justice League so close by to the prison may, in fact, become a security liability!
Or, as Jon Stewart said, “I’ll put a good, old fashioned, USA born and raised, brain-eater against any of those motherf***ers. Any of them. USA! USA!”
Remember how Hannibal Lecter escaped a maximum-security facility? And these guys are worse than Lecter because they’re Muslim!
I’m also amazed at how much prison guards (generalization here) are paid for the sh*t they put up with. I knew a guy who worked a sex offenders’ jail in Texas, and was surprised to learn his hourly based on the people he was interacting with on a daily basis.
I work at a prison, and the jobs aren’t super fun and emotionally rewarding, but they have above-average pay for this area, are great for those who are willing to work with inmates, and don’t often require a lot of unnecessary education. On the whole, while prisons aren’t the kind of thing that makes a community proud, they’re no slouch for communities needing some jobs.
The fact that prisons are often located in rural areas is one of the great tax-expense boondoggles that cities are missing out of because of a fear of criminals and escapes and other nonsense. Inmates rarely escape from prisons, though they often escape from jails because they get transported much more often. And where are jails and the places their confined people located? In cities and larger towns, usually. But as soon as they’re convicted of the more serious offenses, they go to rural areas and take their census counts and state funding with them.
Bob In Pacifica
The whole “let’s keep them in Guantanamo” thing was just a legal sleight-of-hand to insulate the prisoners from their Constitutional rights, so for that I’m glad they’re getting relocated.
I agree with inkadu and KCinDC that it’s pretty pathetic that now that GATT, NAFTA et al have enabled corporations to ship jobs overseas that the best jobs left in whole swaths of America the ones where you are standing guard over the even less-fortunate citizens.
Hell, in most red state hell holes, it’d be an upgrade from the locals….
Bob In Pacifica
Of course, if you saw the Chuck Norris flick “Invasion USA” you know that the CUBANS and the Russians and terrorists from all over the world (it was a bit early in history for Islamofascism so any Arabs were pretty much part of the dusky horde) joined forces to attack Florida. So you’d think that you’d want to keep those terrorists far away from Castro.
@mistermix: Actually, uber-coward Jonah Goldberg already shouted “Pork!” before he shat his pants and begged Mommy Lucianne to get off the Clinton Cock Patrol and hold him because the big, ewil tewwrowists were going to shout “Boo” and scare his doughy, fat ass.
Know that this is a very serious, thoughtful, pant shitting that has never been made in such detail or with such care.
@Leelee for Obama:
There is a reason that Andy McCarthy doesn’t lawyer anymore and now writes for America’s Shittiest Website ™.
It’s because he’s a weak, pant-shitting, intellectually deficient, America hating coward.
Now, I’m not castin’ no aspersions or nuthin’….
Dad said he’d be ok with putting them here.
Actual location here.
I used to shoot things where this prison will be located.
Ummm… “a prison that exceeds ‘supermax standards'”?
Ouate de phoque does that mean? Even more isolation, sensory deprivation and resulting mental breakdowns for prisoners?
How does this NOT violate Constitutional standards regarding cruel and unusual punishment?
Didn’t catch the names, but there was a D and an R congress critter from Illinois on Hardball and the D wiped the floor with the R (who hadn’t even been to the town in question).
@jon: Putting jails in rural areas is stupid for many reasons — not least of which is prisoners in rural jails don’t have a fucking chance of rehabilitating. They lose touch with their friends and their families. And who does that leave them with? Their fellows on the inside. Bad idea.
@Dave C: Maybe we can check in with the Large Hadron Collider and see if we can build a bridge between DC and Marvel. Superman can take care of most of Marvel’s villains, and the X-Men can do the same for DC villians. It’s all about evolutionary ecology.
The Montana Town That Wanted to Be Gitmo
That Montana town would be Hardin, they of the American Police Force fame (aka – “Don’t worry about who we are. Just hand over the keys to the
prisoncity, if you would please.”) I know it shouldn’t, but it really does amaze me how many people buy into the whole “TERRORISTS HAVE SUPER POWERS” line of thinking; and not only that, but how easily they seem to buy into it.
I mean, honestly, what do they think is going to happen if we stash these guys in some dusthole part of Kansas or the craggly
entiretyoutskirts of Montana? Osama and Co. are really going to come jihadiing over here to bust out their boyz? IS THIS A FUCKING MICHAEL BAY MOVIE?! It is so beyond absurd, the complete breakdown of logic such an argument contains.
Bob In Pacifica:
I’ll co-sign on that one as well.
But but but CHARLES MANSON! Look what happened when he escaped.
@toujoursdan: Supermax prisons are incredibly cruel. Is solitary confinement and no yard time really necessary for all the gitmo detainees? I guess we don’t know. And since we are a country that is comfortable with rape as a punishment for crimes, we won’t care.
@Midnight Marauder: There was a big fight on the other side of the state in Standish over whether or not to bring Guantanamo prisoners there. And their prison has since closed; the jobs are gone, etc. I don’t remember where the lines were drawn exactly, but I seem to recall the town itself was pretty positive about it but later disavowed those sentiments. It was, well, weird.
Shut up, that’s how.
Don’t you know that these detainees are the worst of the worst? A guy that I work with said that his sister-in-law’s brother talked to a guy who heard Sean Hannity, the Great American hisself, say so!
Correction. Guantanamo started as a coaling station. Then it moved on to fleet training. Then it was used as a base for efforts to intercept flotillas from Haiti and other efforts to smuggle migrants into the States.
Fighting a losing battle against the conflation of Guantanamo and Camp X-Ray since 2003.
The sick, sad fact is that incarceration is big business in this country. The sicker, sadder fact is that people prefer it that way over health care. The prison industry makes billions each year to keep people locked up, mostly over trumped up ‘war on drugs’ bullshit.
These douchebags would rather be ‘corrections officers’ than ‘caregivers’.
Yeah, I’ve been following all the shenanigans going on in that discussion. The lines were drawn between the sane residents of the town wanting the inmates (because, surprisingly, they seem to value disposable income), and Crazy Pete Hoekstrokia yelling loudly and ignorantly on the other. And if I recall correctly, isn’t he from the opposite side of the state? But heaven forbid Crazy Pete go a few days without a little grandstanding during his budding gubernatorial campaign.
Where are these communities you speak of, Pete? Rent needs to get paid this month and I still have a few
Christmas Pagan Festival of Baby EatingHoliday gifts to snag.
Phil Hare and Aaron Schock. Hare represents Western IL from Quad Cities down the river to Madison County. Schock is a punk kid who replace Ray LaHood in the Peoria area. He’s also the genius who spouted off about giving Taiwan nuclear weapons if China didn’t support sanctions against Iran.
@Midnight Marauder: Indeed, the Standish folks live in Stupak territory.
Et Tu Brutus?
@ John Cole: sad state of affairs indeed, when there are so few decent paying, stable jobs with benefits and pensions left in America; prison guard always was/is one of the better gigs in the post reconstruction South. That it should become so now in most other parts of our country is suggestive of the results of another type of civil war, no?
I’d be willing to bet anything that there are a lot of communities that would take on these detainees without even thinking twice about it.
They already do. They’re called “private prisons”. The warehousing of human beings is big business.
Republicans are just a bunch of fat cowards. Put the terrorists literally in my backyard, I don’t care. As long as a Republican isn’t in charge of the jail, they won’t get out.
If republicans wanted this situation resolved to republican satisfaction THEIR president should have cleaned his own mess up. End of story. Just a bunch of bitches whining about someone actually getting off their ass to resolve some crap they left behind when they moved out of the frat house.
Hell, if you were a corrections officer, who would you prefer to share your working hours with: the kind of damaged, soul-dead monsters who get their rocks off hurting children, or your ordinary smash’n’grab “professional” thugs?
As others have said, there’s a respectable modern American business model for turning underprivileged marijuana-smokers into professional Guests of the State. Street cops, public defenders, local politicians, corrections officers, and all the related support-service providers get a steady, dependable income stream as “surplus” teenagers rise from vandalism & abuse-of-unsanctioned-substances to improve their skill sets in theft, thuggery, and general anti-social behavior. Mixing genuinely crazy people like child rapists into this income stream just makes things more unpleasant for all parties concerned. In a civilized society, such individuals would be shunted into a more permanent treatment stream — yes, Virginia, there are some people who just can’t be left unsupervised — but our combined civic decisions since the rise of St. Ronnie Reagan make it clear that “we”, as a society, are not interested in nancy-pants concepts like ‘civilisation’ when there are metrics like ‘profit’ available.
@schrodinger’s cat: Ok, this whole thread was depressing me for all the truths being stated, but I have to say, this
made me laugh, so I read it twice.
And, in honor of schrodinger’s cat, TUNCH!
I just looked up Corrections Corp of America’s website and checked the “about” page. This part doesn’t sound too awful
But it then goes on to say
Over half the private prison beds in the country are CCA’s. That’s wonderful for shareholders, but I wonder what it’s like for the inmates.
Does anyone else shudder with horror and revulsion at the fact that “prison guard” is now one of the few really, really good jobs left in America?
Just wait till those prison guard unions start lobbying for new legislation mandating 20-year minimum sentences for littering.
@mclaren: I’m not sure California’s corrections officer union has gone that far yet, but I have read that it’s one of the most powerful unions in that state.
That itself is distressing. Not that the guards are unionized and powerful, but that there are so many of them apparently needed.
It is pretty sad that nowadays, folks who don’t have professional degrees have little choice but to fight each other for government jobs. There is nothing left in the private sector for these people except, as you point out, “crap jobs” with low pay and no benefits.
Recently we saw a guy go all the way to the Supreme Court to get a job as a firefighter. It shouldn’t be like this.
I’m waiting for the moment when the Republicans invoke the “terrorists will gain control of the Mississippi River and block a major source of transport” theme. Or maybe they already have. I grow tired of hearing about it. I live in Illinois and it’s nonstop GOP terror filled screed about the prison. It’s a shame that the great United States of America is afraid of, what, a couple hundred terrorists. Idiots.
@Dr. Squid: Aaron Schrock is also one of the nitwits that went with Jim DeMint to Honduras. Unfortunately in my neck of the woods, he is thought to be the next coming.
The biggest security risk is going to be for the Gitmo detainees and whether they are exposed to the general prison population. I don’t know whether they will have other offenders at this prison (can’t imagine they won’t) or whether they will all be subject to max security measures (isolated and in a cell 23 of 24 hours). I do know from the work I did in prisons that the inmates are more prone to hurting each other than just about anyone else. Given the violent rhetoric I can only imagine the amount of “creds” an inmate would get from wasting a genuine terrorist. bleh!
Among others, Senate candidate Mark Kirk. He wet his pants like a mother until every newspaper in the state told him to STFU, and he immediately put his tail between his legs.
Illinois Republicans are about 6 months behind on everything. Kirk has a reputation for being a moderate Republican (in a trending Dem state) and his peers have been wailing on him to be more wingnutty.
As someone who prefers a strong opposition party, I was doubly glad when the Thomson thing blew up in their faces.
As much as it pains me to agree with Grover Norquist, Bob Barr and David Keene, this statement from them back in November is spot-on. I challenge any bedwetting Liz Cheney conservative to disagree.
I think people misunderestimate the source of the bedwetters’ fear. It’s not that the terrists will escape; it’s that the terrists’ buddies, who (as projected by the bedwetters from their own experience) can’t currently figure out that the US owns and runs Gitmo, and they will figure out to come and asplode themsefs in our very malls if we let the cat out of the bag.