But advocates for the adoption of Gitmo detainees in state prisons point to the federal maximum-security prison in Marion, Ill., which already houses 35 convicted terror suspects, as proof that such inmates can be held and at little danger to surrounding communities.
Federal officials have also been considering Colorado's so-called supermax prison, south of Denver, for placement of some of the detainees.
The prison is already home to Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, 9/ 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef and failed airline shoe bomber Richard Reid.
Aside from state correctional facilities, the Obama administration is considering a list of U.S. military bases that could house some of the detainees. Among the options are Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C.
Representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service and other agencies have conducted site visits at the brig in Charleston and consider the military complex a viable option, according to two administration officials.
Officials had also considered Fort Leavenworth in Kansas but have recently shied away from that option.
The congressional delegation from Kansas, led by Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has fiercely opposed using the military compound north of Kansas City as home for detainees.
In August, the senators placed legislative holds on Justice Department and Pentagon political appointees who were awaiting Senate confirmation to force the administration to provide information about its plans and prevent Leavenworth from being one of the chosen locations.
A month later, the Kansas senators said they had released the holds on the nominees after discussions with senior administration officials.
"We believe that the administration has a good understanding of obstacles and concerns and is giving them proper consideration," the senators said in a joint statement. "In a good faith effort to continue moving this dialogue forward, we are releasing our holds on all Department of Defense and Department of Justice nominees. We are confident that because of this good faith dialogue, detainees will not be transferred to Fort Leavenworth."
One major consideration that remains unresolved in the placement process is how state prisons and military installations will handle staffing of the facility or at courthouses where potential trials would take place, according to the Justice Department and federal law enforcement officials.
While there have been no specific funding requests made yet to the federal government, officials said, the cost of holding detainees on U.S. soil is likely to be a matter of concern for states, many already facing significant budget crises.
ABC News' Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.