By Jay Levine

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (CBS) — Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is spending his final hours behind bars ahead of his release to a halfway house Thursday.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine caught up with the Jackson family as they arrived in Montgomery, Ala.

With the prison located three miles inside this heavily guarded Air Force base perimeter, there’s no way to actually see the former congressman being released, which is how the Bureau of Prisons wants it, even telling family members to avoid the media. The Jacksons, who are normally extremely generous with their time, really tried to do that, but Montgomery is a small town and there was really nowhere to hide.

The former congressman’s mother and father, wife and two children arrived in Montgomery Wednesday. Weary from the two-year separation, they are looking forward to Thursday’s reunion.

“So sad the day he left, I’m so glad he’s returning,” Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said. “That excites me to no end.”

Jackson Sr. says his son is “moving forward” and “doing well.”

The family had come to accompany Jesse Jackson Jr. on the 800 mile drive from the prison camp inside an Air Force base in Montgomery, to a halfway house close to his wife and children and their Washington D.C. home.

Jackson has nearly six months left on a sentence which is expected to end with home confinement “…no more than 10 percent or 6 months, whichever is shorter, according to an email from a spokesman from the Bureau of Prisons, whose spokesman also said, “It is not unusual for an offender to transfer to home confinement even on the first day.”

Like former Governor George Ryan did when he was released from prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Jackson has served 12 of his 17 months in prison in Alabama, transferring here for a drug and alcohol abuse treatment program which helped reduce the time he’d serve from 30 months to just under 23.

Rev. Jackson Sr.’s mother is in poor health, and he and his wife may head straight to South Carolina to be at her bedside.