September 23, 2014

Official says Bureau still interested in Standish Max

Environmental assessment of Illinois prison recommends eliminating Standish Max from consideration

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STANDISH — Standish Maximum Correctional Facility has been recommended to be “eliminated from further consideration or detailed study,” by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to an environmental assessment of the Thompson Correctional Center in Illinois released by Tetra Tech, a Virginia based engineering and consulting firm, to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

According to the environmental assessment document, which is dated August 2010, Standish Max was rejected from further consideration because it would not meet the immediate need for high-security beds.

However, Richard Cohn, chief of the Capacity Planning and Site Selection Branch of the Federal Bureau of Prisons said that currently Standish Max is still being considered.

“At this time, the bureau is still interested in Standish,” he said. “We made a commitment to the community to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS). That is still the case.”

Cohn said that due to the National Enviormental Protection Act, agencies have to have an alternative site to consider.

“Standish was the alternative site to Thompson in that case,” he said. “Thompson was the preferred site because of the time it would take to get the prison ready.”

According to the document, the time period it would take from the time the bureau began its process until the time when inmates could be placed in the prison could be between two or three years.

Cohn said the planned EIS for Standish Max is still in the early phases, but will still be performed.

“It takes roughly 90 to 100 days to complete the paperwork,” he said. “Right now everything is status quo.”

Cohn said that $170 million has been secured for the 2011 budget to purchase Thompson Prison. He said that the fiscal year budget will be under review by the House of Representatives and the Senate after the 2010 fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

“It’s in the public that we are interested in other facilities,” he said.

Cohn has stated, and the document also states, that Standish Max would require renovations and modifications if it were to house high-security inmates.

The document also shows that if Standish Max were to be acquired, the bureau could award a contract for modifications that would need to be made, and construction could take approximately 18 months.

Along with updating areas like food service, visiting rooms and administrative facilities, the document shows that the bureau would have to add high-security perimeter fencing around the facility, as well as ground water storage and an area for receiving and discharging.

A housing unit and a prison camp would also need to be added.

Cohn said he was informed about the Prison Watch group started by community leaders in Standish and said if the public has any questions or concerns, he would be glad to answer them.

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