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Friend — Not Feds — Transports Jesse Jackson Jr. To His New Prison Home

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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(CBS) – CBS 2 has learned that former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. — currently serving a 30 month jail term for misuse of campaign funds — was driven by a family friend from North Carolina to Alabama last Friday.

Jackson transferred from one minimum-security prison to another to enrol in a special inmate alcohol-abuse program.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.

Montgomery Federal Prison is located at Maxwell Air Force Base, not far from Birmingham. Jackson got there Friday night, following a 550-mile, eight-hour drive from Butner, N.C. He signed himself out of one facility and into the other.

He left Butner’s minimum-security camp at 9 a.m. Friday morning. His mother, Jacqueline, and sister Santita were there for what’s called a “furlough transfer,” in a friend’s SUV.

The vehicle followed a route ordered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, checking in every few hours.

Jackson had requested the transfer to enroll in an alcohol-abuse program, which Butner didn’t have. Completing the program could cut six months off his 30-month jail term. Between that, good behavior and halfway-house time, Jackson could be released from prison around the end of this year.

Jackson’s stay at Butner was not without controversy, but several well-placed sources deny it led to Jackson’s request for a transfer.

An investigation into his helping illiterate inmates with clemency petitions led to his being isolated from other inmates in what the Bureau of Prisons calls “special housing” for a few days.

But his subsequent transfer from one minimum-security prison to another is an indication no disciplinary action was taken or even considered.

Jackson’s name and celebrity makes him stand out behind bars. That’s not easy for someone simply trying to serve his time and get out.