The Thomson prison is not a new subject and to imply it has been a long journey is an understatement. State and federal governments have made large investments in this prison and I realize the local communities have matched these efforts.
The Administrative United States Penitentiary (AUSP) at Thomson currently employs nearly 400 staff, with a future full staffing complement of over 600.
While a major of our staff and their families are from the local area, a large number have transferred from other institutions and now reside in your communities. They are a diverse group with diverse needs and their presence has a compounding effect as salaries are redistributed throughout the local area — in housing, food, goods, services and taxes.
As our staffing levels continue to grow, the demand for homes and other amenities also increase. Affordable and desirable housing along with good quality schools and daycare centers determine where Bureau of Prisons’ staff reside.
They need apartments, rental houses, starter homes, and larger homes for their expanding families. Unfortunately, for some, commuting a long distance is necessary, with some staff traveling as far north as Dubuque and south beyond the Quad Cities.
AUSP Thomson is now offering new correctional officers a sign-on bonus of 10 percent of their salary, and after successfully completing one year of service, new staff will receive a one-time bonus of over $4,000. However, this may not be enough to entice staff to reside in the local community.
Therefore, I humbly request your assistance in advocating for more housing development. Please do what you can to create conversations among community leadership and residential developers. I fear that without noticeable development, the lack of housing may become a determining factor against relocating to this area.
As always, thank you for your interest in AUSP Thomson and the hospitality provided to Bureau staff and their families. The local communities have always made us feel at home and AUSP Thomson intends to be a good neighbor.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me at 815-259-1000 or TOM/ExecAssistant@bop.gov.