Iowa US Representative Dave Loebsack visited the Thomson prison today as he tries to maintain its funding. It's been about three years since the congressman from Iowa City visited the federal prison north of the Quad Cities. Even though it could hold a lot more prisoners, it's current population is 344.
Loebsack says "ongoing battles" in Washington DC make it difficult to ensure federal funding will continue. But he hopes the issue can be resolved soon, so the prison could accept more inmates in about a year.
The Bureau of Prisons has been improving Thomson to get ready for more federal prisoners. For example, Loebsack says the original computer systems had to be replaced, and a couple of small out-buildings are being added for training and storage.
Loebsack says people in his Iowa district just want Congress and the president to work together and solve the problem.
Thomson employs 224 guards and other workers.
The State of Illinois built the 800-bed prison in 2001, but sold it for $165 million to the federal government in October, 2012.