TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (CBS) — Former Gov. George Ryan was set to be released from the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., on Wednesday, and transferred to a halfway house on the Near West Side early Wednesday to complete his sentence.
Ryan most likely will have to stay at the halfway house until his final release date in July, although there’s a possibility he could earn the right to spend the last few weeks of his sentence on house arrest.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports he has been imprisoned at the federal prison camp in Terre Haute since Nov. 7, 2007, when he left his Kankakee home before sunup to begin his 6 ½-year sentence on corruption charges.
Surrounded by family, Ryan made one last public statement before heading to prison.
“I am innocent, and I intend to prove that,” Ryan said at the time.
Ryan was then driven away to prison by his son, Homer, with his wife Lura Lynn in the back seat.
Later, an AP photographer captured an image of the convicted ex-governor being driven onto the prison grounds by his attorney and friend, former Gov. James Thompson.
It was the last public glimpse of Ryan, and his life has certainly changed significantly since his incarceration.
“One day we will be back together the way we should be, and live a happy normal life together,” his wife, Lura Lynn said in 2011.
But that wasn’t to be. His devoted wife of almost 60 years died in June 2011. Prison officials allowed Ryan to visit his ailing wife a few times before her death, but he could not go to her funeral.
He also lost his brother, Tom; his state pension was taken away due to his conviction; and he’s reportedly been battling health problems of his own.
His transfer to a halfway house will mark the near end of his 6 ½-year sentence for racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements.
Always defiant, Ryan’s attempts to appeal his convictions failed. His prison days are over, but he won’t be entirely free of federal custody until July.
While at the halfway house, Ryan will be required to take classes on writing a resume and managing his finances.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Ryan will be monitored 24 hours a day. He must hold a job, and he’ll be required to pay a subsistence fee, amounting to 25 percent of his income.
He can eventually earn the right to leave the halfway house for approved activities, but must check in and return by a required time. He also might earn weekend releases.
Halfway house residents also share bathroom facilities and live in dorm-style rooms. It also has a cafeteria that serves three meals a day.