Earlier this year Leavenworth was a leading candidate to house a limited number of Guantanamo Bay inmates.
But Kansas politicians from both major parties spent lots of time exaggerating risks to denounce the idea.
Now a rural Illinois burg is in for a windfall — 3,000 good-paying jobs, millions of federal dollars and a steady stream of visitors on expense accounts.
Thomson, Ill., population 500, is the Obama administration’s apparent choice to house the Gitmo inmates who can’t be released or sent to custody in their home nations.
For a region struggling with 10.5 percent unemployment and saddled with a 1,600-cell maximum security prison largely unused because of state budget problems, the Guantanamo transfer is quite a deal.
The 9-year-old prison will get an upgrade, making its security level “beyond supermax,” as the Obama administration says.
The U.S. government, which will purchase the facility, will use 75 percent of the space to house federal prisoners. The Defense Department will use a segregated space for the Guantanamo detainees — as few as 40 or as many as 100 — who are to be moved out of the notorious detention facility in Cuba.
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