Illinois U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos is calling the recent designation of the federal prison in Thomson as a quarantine location "irresponsible."
Bustos says as many as 280 new prisoners could enter the federal system through the facility located near the Mississippi River in northwestern Illinois. She’s troubled about understaffing and lack of PPE at the prison, along with insufficient testing capacity. She’s also worried about the lack of local health care options if someone does come down with the disease.
"Staff or inmates, if they were to have to go to a hospital, they would need to either cross the river and go into Clinton, Iowa or they would have to go a county away into Whiteside County," she said. "Even that, you have to think about, with a virus like Covid-19, it doesn’t respect any borders."
The federal designation follows a previous decision by the Bureau of Prisons to transfer 20 inmates to Thomson from Chicago, a hot spot for COVID-19.