Prisons obviously aren't a walk in the park, but some are scarier than others.

If you majorly screw up and get busted for it, that doesn't mean you'll end up in somewhere like Shawshank. Federal prisons are typically safer than state prisons, according to a criminal attorney's website, because state prisons hold violent criminals convicted of crimes like homicide whereas federal prisons contain those convicted of crimes like money laundering or drug offenses across state borders.

Different federal and state prisons have various security levels, types of rehab programs, and varying amounts of inmates. Not all prisons are the same but apparently one federal pen in Illinois is among the worst in the nation.

One Of The Worst Pens In America

The Marshall Project
The Marshall Project

According to a recent list from Prisons InfoFCI Thomson is in the top 7 worst federal prisons in America. The website says the prison is high-security, but Wikipedia and the prison's actual website say it's low-security, after making that shift back in March 2023.

The prison does have a 7,000-volt electric fence which has a 12-foot tall razor wire fence with it.

The cells are said to be made of reinforced concrete that has one small slit for a window. One of the eight cell-houses is meant for the "most troubled inmates" and plans have been in the works for years to send Guantanamo Bay inmates to Thomson.

There's a big guards-to-inmates ratio but an investigative journalist named Joseph Shapiro found that "the prison has a serious issue of murders and violence".

Thomson Now

Even with the shift to low-security, there still appears to be a reputation for the prison. FCI Thomson's website says they're currently not accepting visitors at the facility. It's a prison for male offenders and at last count, has a little over 1,700 inmates in total.

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