Governor Pat Quinn says money from the sale of the Thomson Correctional Center should be used to pay off the prison's bond debt and the state's stack of unpaid bills.
State officials announced Tuesday the state will sell the closed prison to the federal government for $165 million.
In addition to the infusion of cash from the initial sale, Quinn says operating Thomson at full capacity will create hundreds of jobs in and around the prison.
Thomson is located 150 miles west of Chicago. It was built in 2001 but never fully opened.