After former Gov. George Ryan left Terre Haute, Indiana’s federal prison around 1 a.m. Wednesday he arrived at the Salvation Army’s “Freedom Center” halfway house as required at approximately 6:45 a.m. on Chicago’s West Side, according to ABC News. In a surprise move, however, the Illinois politician was released to home confinement and back in his Kankakee home to the south of Chicago by 10:30 a.m.
The Bureau of Prison’s spokesman insists that the former governor, convicted of federal crimes and imprisoned since 2007, did not receive special treatment in regard to his home confinement to Kankakee just hours after arriving at the halfway house. The spokesperson said that there is no requirement to actually spend a minimum amount of time in the halfway facility. The amount of time spent in the actual facility as opposed to being released to an offender’s residence depends on several factors such as the person’s financial support, family support, health issues, and an approved release residence – all of which Ryan sufficiently meets.
The release from the halfway house to his home in Kankakee was not a surprise to Ryan – only the press. Ryan reportedly knew of the plan some time ago.
The former governor may not leave his home except to go to work – if, in fact, he gets a job. If he gets a job, he will only be allowed to go to work and home for five months – the remainder of his prison term.
Ryan was reportedly somber and silent as he entered the halfway house, accompanied by former Gov. Jim Thompson – now a practicing attorney who has dealt with Ryan’s case through the years – and Ryan’s son George Ryan, Jr., this morning. Ryan ignored the swarm of reporters who shouted questions to him as he walked into the facility.
When Ryan checked in at the halfway house on Chicago’s West Side at 1515 West Monroe Street in the University Village area, James Thompson returned to the press waiting outside and said:
Today is another step in a long journey for George Ryan. He would like me to tell you he's grateful to leave the penitentiary. He's grateful also for the encouragement and support from many people. He has paid a severe price: the loss of his wife and brother while he was in the penitentiary, the loss of his pension, his office, his good name and 5 1/2 years of imprisonment. Now, near 80 years old, that is a significant punishment. But he is going to go forward.
All total, Ryan finished more than 5 of his 6-1/2-year prison term for the corruption conviction in prison, having entered the Terre Haute prison on Nov. 7, 2007.