Ex-Illinois Gov. George Ryan is halfway home.
Ryan is nearing the end of his six-and-a-half year sentence after serving out the majority in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. and is expected to be transferred Wednesday to the Salvation Army Halfway House on Chicago's Near West Side, reports Fox Chicago.
Scott Fawell, Ryan's former chief of staff, gave the scoop on what the Salvation Army halfway house experience is like:
"You get to the halfway house, and they'll put you through an orientation," Fawell explained to Fox. "The first four or five days, you really can't leave, now people can come visit you, people can bring you food, lunch, dinner, a little more interaction with family and friends."
Speaking to ABC Chicago, Fawell said, "The first thing is they'll assign him a room which is a small, little victory-our own space which you never have in prison. People can bring you clothes and a TV, make it as homey as you can."
Fawell speaks from experience — he spent roughly three weeks in the facility himself at the end of his own sentence for his part in the corruption scandal that brought down Ryan and many of his allies.
In addition to Fawell, the Salvation Army Freedom House has also been the halfway home to several Illinois politicians: Former U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, who served time for mail fraud; former Chicago City Clerk Jim Laski, who served time for his role in the hired trucks scandal and former Cicero town president Betty Loren-Maltese, who served time on racketeering and fraud charges.
In the halfway house, Ryan will have to get written permission to go anywhere, observe a curfew, eat in the cafeteria with other residents and take classes on resume building and finances, reports ABC. Before his sentence officially expires, Ryan is expected to return to his home in Kankakee where he'll continue check-ins and monitoring.
The transition to life outside of prison and to the halfway on Ashland and Monroe could be especially tough for Ryan, a now-widowed former pharmacist who will be 79 by the time his sentence officially runs out in July. Citing his past sympathies for death row inmates—Ryan cleared death row in Illinois while still governor — CBS Chicago reports Ryan could fill his time as a free man by dedicating himself to helping other inmates.
Wednesday will mark Ryan's first time outside of lockup since a brief furlough in 2011. Ryan's appeals to his 2006 conviction on charges including racketeering, conspiracy, and fraud were repeatedly denied, though in he was granted leave for a few hours to be with his wife, Lura Lynn Ryan, shortly before her death.