(CBS) — Disgraced former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. hopes for a second chance, but will he get it?
Prison officials and a former congressional ally laid out a possible path for his return and redemption.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has returned from the Baltimore, Md. halfway house Jackson will call home for an undetermined amount of time.
Anyone who expected to see Jackson coming or going on Friday, the day after he arrived at the facility, was mistaken.
Jackson was not among the residents observed entering or leaving, and is not likely to be—yet. One hundred returning inmates live at the center temporarily as part of their gradual return to their homes and families. There are fewer restrictions than prison, but by no means total freedom.
The media mob waiting for Jackson was gone, and the former congressman was spending his first full day there quietly inside. He was learning the ropes and the rules.
Jackson spent the day undergoing orientation and meeting with staff and counsellors. The goal is to transition him to home confinement.
He is expected to be able to sign out of the halfway house for outside activities, including working and finding work, counseling and treatment, religious services and recreation and visiting.
But he, like everyone else there, is subject to strict monitoring, with random and scheduled head counts and random drug and alcohol tests.
The public got a hint of where Jackson may be headed in something he said Thursday when pressed by what sources characterized as the biggest media presence ever at the facility.
“I’ve made mistakes, and I’m prayerful and hopeful that we’re a country of second chances, that the American people and the people of the city of Chicago will consider me for a second chance,” Jackson said.
Congressman Bobby Rush of Chicago says the potential for Jackson is there.
Jackson’s plea to the public for a second chance implies a desire to return to public life. His criminal record rules out another run for office, but his strong record on civil rights and, now, his experience within the criminal justice system could make him a leading voice in the national dialogue over peace and justice.