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U.S. NEWS: THOMSON, I.L.
Cover Photo Courtesy: WQAD-8
Three members of the United States Congress reportedly called for an immediate federal investigation into violence and abuse at a Federal Penitentiary. A report from NPR said, the United States Penitentiary at Thomson, I.L. (U.S.P Thomson) has had five murders since the year 2019, making it one of the most dangerous prisons in the Federal Bureau Of Prisons (B.O.P).
Democratic Senators, Dick Durbin, Tammy Duckworth, and Rep. Cheri Bustos, wrote a letter to the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. In the letter, the Senators said that it was “imperative” that he look into allegations of staff purposefully housing inmates with other inmates that they knew would be violent, and subjected them to painful restraints for hours and sometimes days. They also asked that Horowitz look into what if any, role staff shortages have played a condition at the prison.
Five men have been killed at USP Thomson since 2019, making it one of the deadliest and most dangerous prisons in the BOP. On top of the constant threat of being killed by other inmates, prisoners also face the prospect of frequent abuse at the hands of prison guards.
USP Thomson is home to the Special Management Unit (SMU), a program meant to house the system’s most volatile and dangerous inmates. Many inmates at USP Thomson were found to not have met the strict qualifications required to be housed at the prison. The unit had previously been housed at USP Lewisburg in Lewisburg, P.A. Prisoners who attempted to reject being housed with a cellmate they thought were dangerous, they were often locked in painful shackles until they relented, according to an investigation of the facility in 2016, by NPR titled, The Marshal Project. The report also noted that double-cell solitary confinement was practiced on a normal basis. The 2016 NPR story led to 37 civil rights groups to call on the Justice Department to launch a federal investigation into the situations at the prison. In 2018 the BOP closed the unit at Lewisburg, and moved it to Thomson. The same problems and abuses followed the unit to its new location at USP Thomson.