Thompson Correctional Center (TCC) is located 17 miles east of Madison, between Deerfield and Cambridge, roughly 3/4 miles east of State Hwy 12/18. The facility is situated on 22 acres of land that is bisected by State Farm Road. The center derives its name from the Forger Thompson farm, which dates back to the 1840s. TCC was established in 1942 as a prison farm located on 1,100 acres of land then owned by the University of Wisconsin, but leased to the Department of Welfare. In 1974, all but the current 22 acres of land were sold to the public. At that time, the center's program focus changed from farming to work release. Construction of the newer building began in 1993, which allowed the center population to expand from 36 to 90 offenders. Remodeling on the old building added a 16 bed independent living unit, which opened in 1995.
TCC's current operating capacity is 125 adult male inmates. TCC employs 17 security staff, two social workers; several support staff and a health service unit. The center is part of the Wisconsin Correctional Center System, an "institution" comprised of 14 adult, male correctional centers overseen by a single warden whose office is centrally located in Madison.
TCC offers work release programs with local employers through which employment is provided for qualified inmates, with an emphasis made on maintaining that employment placement after the inmate’s release. Funds earned through work release help to pay fees, restitution and other obligations. Offsite work opportunities are determined based on an evaluation of risk and of each individual’s case. Placements cannot be guaranteed for all eligible inmates. Work release and offsite opportunities are a privilege, not a right, and are provided at the discretion of the center superintendent and warden. Additional programs vary and are available for inmates with identified needs, and based on available volunteers and community partners.
The TCC project crew assists local government agencies and non-profit organizations on a variety of work projects, incorporating a positive work experience, building new skills, and giving back to the community. Community service opportunities are also offered with staff or agency supervision.
TCC partnered with the Labrador Education and Rescue Network (L.E.A.R.N) in 2013, becoming a part of their rescue network for Labradors. This continues to be a beneficial union, rewarding for both man and canine.