Jail In My Backyard? Sure, If It Creates Jobs
Cities across America struggling with high unemployment rates will welcome just about any influx of jobs - even if that means hosting alleged killers.
Several U.S. towns are begging federal officials for a chance to become home to Guantanamo detainees currently being held in Cuba. The clock is ticking - President Obama set a January 22, 2010 date as the deadline to shift prisoners out of current facility and close it down.
States with empty prisons see this as an opportunity to breathe life back into their economically challenged cities.
Federal officials have been criss-crossing the country, touring existing facilities as cities swoon over the idea of having jobs and money pumped into their towns.
In Illinois, one possibility is the Thompson prison in the northwest part of the state. A federal takeover of the facility could create more than 3,000 jobs and pump more than $1 billion into the local economy over four years. It could also slice Carroll County's 10.5% unemployment rate in half and increase personal income by up to $223 million a year.
Other cities interested include Hardin, Montana, Marion, Illinois, Standish, Michigan and Florence, Colorado.
Any facility the government picks would have to be upgraded to "supermax" standard, the highest level of security. That alone would mean the government would have to spend up to $200 million for improvements.