Administrative United States Penitentiary - Thomson

Administrative United States Penitentiary - Thomson, or Thomson AUSP, is a maximum-security prison located in Thomson, Illinois, that used to be called Thomson Correctional Center. It has an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp for male inmates.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons bought this facility in 2012 from the state of Illinois with plans to transfer inmates from Guantanamo Bay. However, Congress blocked this plan and refused funding.

Inmates are still being transferred to this facility, and it is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019. Currently, Thomson AUSP is housing low-security deportable aliens in the satellite camp, and the population is 274 inmates at the AUSP and 90 at the camp.

In June 2018, the BOP announced that they are moving the Special Management Unit (SMU) - a program for high-security inmates - from USP Lewisburg to Thomson AUSP. In addition, it will have a high-security work cadre to support operations.

The first high-security inmates arrived at the end of 2018.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at Thomson AUSP satellite camp are on Fridays from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm and Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The number of persons allowed while visiting an inmate at the camp is limited to two adults plus children. Children age 15 and under are not counted against the inmate's two maximum visitors.

The Visiting Room Officer will not allow more than the maximum of two visitors to visit an inmate at one time.

Getting on the Approved Visit List

Authorized visitors who can visit an inmate include family, friends, and associates. You can't visit an inmate unless he or she puts you on the visiting list.

Everyone must fill out a visitor form, and they must have a relationship with the inmate prior to incarceration. If a potential visitor does not have a prior relationship with the inmate, their request will be reviewed by the warden.

Once the inmate requests to add someone to their visit list, a correctional counselor will provide them with a visiting form, and the inmate is responsible for mailing these out and letting the potential visitor know that they need to fill out the form and return it to the institution staff.

The unit team will do a background check and determine if a visitor application is approved. They make their decision based on constructive and security factors. The process takes about a week, and the unit staff will notify the inmate when the requested visitor is approved or refused.

It is the inmate’s responsibility to notify the visitor of the decision, and the process is the same for both adult and minor visitors.

Basic Visit Procedures and Rules

If you are 16 years of age or older, you must bring a valid photo ID with you to the visit, like a state or federal ID card, driver's license, or current passport. Birth certificates are not valid forms of ID.

All visitors are subject to a visual and pat search by an officer. You will also be scanned by a metal detector.

Any item you bring into the facility will be opened and searched by a staff member, and anyone who refuses a search of themselves or their property will not be allowed to visit with the inmate.

Visitors may not bring anything into the institution to be given to an inmate.

Cell phones, pagers, cameras, or devices of any type are not authorized inside the institution.

Purses, coats, jackets, and headgear (with the exception of religious headgear or for medical reasons) must be secured in the visitor’s vehicle.

During the cold season, heavy winter coats and protective headgear may be brought into the visiting room after a physical search and a pass through the x-ray machine. These items must be hung on a coat rack by the officer's station prior to contact with the inmate. Visitors may retrieve these coats as they are leaving the visiting room.

Visitors are authorized to bring the following items into the visiting room:

  • Clear change purse (8”x8”x8”) 
  • $25.00 in coins total, each day, per inmate visit
  • Prescription medication (only enough for one day visitation)
  • Clear diaper bag, (no larger than 8”x8”x8”) containing up to four (4) of each of the following items: baby food or formula (in sealed, unopened container, NO zip-lock bags with any substance inside will be permitted), empty plastic bottles, and diapers 

The diaper bag will be supervised by the visiting room officers at their station and accessed by the parent when needed.

Visitors are held to a dress code before being admitted into the institution. Visitors wearing transparent clothing, dresses, blouses or other apparel of a suggestive or revealing nature, halter tops, shorts, mini-skirts, culottes, or excessively tight fitting clothing will not be admitted into the institution.

Additionally, visitors may not wear open-toed shoes, ball caps, hats, bandanas, sweat bands, do rags or any other type of headgear, are not authorized with the exception of religious or medical headgear.

Excluding babies, no bare feet will be permitted. Any questions regarding proper attire will be directed to the Institution Duty Officer or the Operations Lieutenant.

Physical Address

THOMSON, IL  61285

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number & Email Address

Phone: 815-259-1000
Email: TOM/[email protected]

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

P.O. BOX 1002

There is no limit on the amount of mail that inmates receive, but all correspondence must have the inmate’s complete name, registration number, facility name, and address.

You can only send cards or letters to these addresses. Paperback books, newspapers, and magazines must come directly from the publisher via a subscription or mail order.

Inmates cannot receive packages through the mail, with the exception of a package of release day clothing. You can't send the release day package until 30 days prior to the scheduled release date.

How to Call an Inmate

Federal inmates are not allowed to have cellphones and they can't receive inbound calls. They can make outbound calls during approved hours, and they must pay for them with the money that is on their personal account or call collect.

Inmates will use TRULINCS to call to both landline and cell phones. This is also how inmates are able to send and receive emails. Your number must be added to the contact list for approval.

All phone calls are limited to 15 minutes, and will be monitored and recorded.

How to Send Money

Sending money is one of most important things you can do for an inmate. The prison will issue each prisoner the minimum amount of clothing and hygiene items, and provide them with three meals a day. But, it is extremely difficult for prisoners to have any level of comfort when living with just the items that are prison-issued.

Inmates can receive outside funds while incarcerated at a BOP-managed facility, which are deposited into their commissary accounts.

Postal Service

For federal prisoners, you can send money through the United States Postal Service by MONEY ORDER to the following address:

Federal Bureau of Prisons
Inmate Name
Eight-Digit Register Number
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001

Send the funds to the address above. Replace the second line with the inmate's valid, full committed name. Replace the third line with the inmate's eight digit register number.

Never send money directly to the prison. If you are using the postal service, you must always send your money order to the bureau of prisons using the above address.


You can send an inmate funds electronically using MoneyGram's Express Payment Program.To send funds using this method, please read and follow these steps carefully:

  • Wait until an inmate has physically arrived at Thomson AUSP.
  • Gather the information you'll need. Which includes the inmate’s name and number.
  • Visit to complete your payment.

Information needed to complete MoneyGram payment:

  • Account Number: Inmate's eight-digit register number with no spaces or dashes, followed immediately by the inmate's last name (example: 12345678DOE).
  • Company Name: Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • City & State: Washington, DC
  • Receive Code is always: 7932
  • Beneficiary: Inmate's full committed name

Western Union

If you would like to see a sample Western Union form click here. On their website, they have a special form for sending money to inmates, and you go directly to it by clicking here.

You will need to know the inmate’s full name and number, and you can pay with a debit or credit card at Remember, any time you send money to an inmate you must always include their name and registration number on everything.

There are a few things that inmates can spend their money on. This includes phone calls, emails, and commissary.  The commissary is the prison store, where inmates can buy things like beverages, meals and snacks, OTC medications, stationary, personal hygiene items, clothing, or other miscellaneous products.

Please be aware that prisoners have their own economy inside the prison walls just like we do in the real world. Inmates that have a lot of money can do a lot of things both legal and illegal. Prisoners can potentially use the money in their account to buy things for other inmates in exchange for drugs and paraphernalia. This activity is illegal and can get an inmate in a lot of trouble.

Is important to keep track of how much money you are sending your incarcerated loved one, and watch out for any suspicious behavior.

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • Drug Abuse Education Course
  • Non-Residential Drug Abuse Program (NR-DAP)
  • Literacy
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • GED
  • Parenting
  • Adult Continuing Education (ACE)
  • High school diplomas and post-secondary programs are available through paid correspondence programs
  • Wellness programs
  • Intramural sports

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Careers at Administrative United States Penitentiary - Thomson

If you are interested in pursuing a career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, you can find available positions at Thomson AUSP by visiting The salaries at the facility begin around $40,000 and can go up into the six-figure range, depending on the position.

The BOP is currently hiring for multiple positions at Thomson AUSP, and the facility is expected to have a staff of 600.