The Thompson Prison was built over a decade ago at a total cost of around $170 million and has only been partially used due to Illinois' well known budget problems. In 2012 the Bureau of Prisons moved to buy the facility for $165 million (they estimated that it would cost over $400 million to build a similar facility today).
Why this matters: This matters because the 1,100 jobs at the Thompson Prison are vital to this depressed area of Illinois. It has been estimated that when operating, the prison will pump over $100 million into the local economy including salaries and will generate over $60 million in secondary economic activity. An economic engine like the Thompson Prison would create jobs for grocery store clerks, convenience store employees, lumbers, electricians, heating and air conditioning people, teachers for the children of the guards, and on and on.