Thomson prison

USA : NO to new Federal Supermax Prison at Thomson

ThomsonThe Obama Administration’s 2014 budget request for the Department of Justice, released this week, confirms that the federal government will open a second ultra-secure supermax prison within the next two years. The new prison will be an “Administrative Maximum U.S. Penitentiary.” Administrative Maximum is a security classification currently held only by the notorious ADX Florence in Colorado, where some 400 individuals are held in isolation and sensory deprivation so extreme that it has been challenged in a series of lawsuits and widely denounced as torture.” (Solitary Watch 13 April 2013)

“...the federal government is quietly moving ahead with a plan that would significantly increase its capacity to house individuals in long-term isolation. The 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill passed by Congress in December contained funding for the continued activation of Thomson prison, a currently disused facility in northwest Illinois… Reliable sources indicate that the Bureau of Prisons plans to use the facility to add 1,500 Special Management Unit beds and 400 more Administrative Maximum-rated cells. The latter increase would double the number of people held in conditions of extreme isolation like those at ADX Florence, a place that has been denounced by UN officials and human rights groups, and described by one former warden as a “clean version of hell…

READ ARTICLE in Solitary Watch (15 January 2015) HERE 

Civil and Human Rights Groups to Eric Holder: No New Federal Supermax Prison at Thomson

On Friday, January 16, a group of 30 advocates representing “a broad coalition of civil rights advocates, faith community leaders, human rights organizations, mental health practitioners, academics, lawyers, and former prisoners” sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, expressing concern over “the Bureau’s imminent plans to increase its use of solitary and other forms of isolated confinement with the opening of the new Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois… “We are deeply concerned that BOP’s decision to convert Thomson Correctional Center into another ‘supermax’ prison not only constitutes an example of extreme government waste of scarce taxpayer dollars, but that the Bureau is willfully implementing policies and practices which will cause harm to and potentially violate the rights of thousands of prisoners—with negative public safety outcomes for us all,” the letter concludes. “As Attorney General, we call on you to ensure that the BOP is operated in a humane, safe, efficient, and effective manner. Expanding the use of solitary and other forms of isolation in federal prisons accomplishes none of these goals.”

READ ARTICLE AND THE LETTER in Solitary Watch (20 January 2015) HERE




Prison activist and editor. Currently preparing a book on the introduction of maximum security prisons in Belgium and Europe, including the practice of solitary confinement. In 2008, Luk started the Belgian Prisoners' Family & Friends Association. ( In 2009, with Farida Aarrass he launched the Campaign Free Ali Aarrass ( ). In 2012 he organised the Committee of the Families of European detainees in Morocco ( Luk Vervaet is the author of « Le making-of d'Anders B. Breivik » (Egalité=Editions, 2012), « Nizar Trabelsi : Guantanamo chez nous ? (Editions Antidote, 2014). He is co-author of « Kim et Ken, mes enfants disparus » (Editions Luc Pire, 2006), « Condamnés à la prison? Ecrits sur un monde caché » (Revue Contradictions, 2008) et « L'affaire Luk Vervaet : écrits sur un interdit professionnel » (Revue Contradictions, 2011). Contributions : « Etats généraux sur les conditions carcérales en Europe : La condition pénitentiaire, regards belges, français et européens"» (2010, éditions MGER) ; « The violence of incarceration: a response from mainland Europe »(2010, Race & Class) ; « Gevangenissen: spiegel van onze samenleving » (2013, MO Mondiaal Nieuws) Publishing house :

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