Jesse Jackson Jr. Could Leave Prison Sooner Than Expected

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Convicted ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. may taste freedom even sooner than expected.

The disgraced former Democratic Representative from Illinois will be eligible to leave federal prison and serve out the final year of his sentence in a halfway house beginning Sept. 20, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday.

Just a day earlier, officials announced Jackson could have more than three months shaved off his sentence.

Under federal prison guidelines, officials may reduction of an inmate’s sentence of up to one year upon successful completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke would not comment on what treatment Jackson may have received while serving time.

“We don’t discuss an inmate’s programming history,” Burke told the Chicago Sun-Times.

In the summer prior to his resignation from Congress in 2012, Jackson sought treatment at Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder.

Jackson, who in 2013 was sentenced to two and a half years for illegally spending $750,000 of campaign funds, was originally projected to be released from prison Dec. 31, 2015.

If the new anticipated release date of Sept. 20, 2015 holds firm, Jackson will be free after serving less than two years of his original sentence.

A recent court filing revealed Jackson paid the remaining $550,000 in restitution he owed the U.S. government. He wrote a check for $200,000 to the U.S. Marshals upon entering prison and last month was reportedly refinancing one of the two homes he and wife Sandi Jackson keep in Chicago and Washington, D.C. in order to pay off the balance.

A Bureau of Prisons spokesman told the Tribune there's no link between Jackson's restitution payment and new projected release date, calling the matters "unrelated."

Sandi Jackson, who was convicted at the same time as her husband, was sentenced to serve one year in prison for filing false tax returns. A federal judge allowed the ex-Chicago Councilwoman to serve her sentence after her husband's in order to have at least one parent free to look after the couple's young children.

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