Former governor George Ryan will be released from prison this week, after five years behind bars doing time for corruption.
He will move to a half-way house in Chicago to finish out his sentence.
Many disgraced public officials have walked the same path.
Former Cicero town president Betty Loren Maltese spent years in a federal penitentiary for political corruption and only two weeks inside the Salvation Army halfway house when she needed a home. In hindsight, she says prison was better. She thinks George Ryan will think so too.
At the halfway house, there are still head counts, pat downs, and no room to roam. Loren Maltese calls the staff professional, but the building crowded, old and dirty. Living there in February 2010 was sheer hell, she says.
Former Chicago city clerk Jim Laski agrees. He called the facility boring and a dull existence. He spent six months there after a year behind bars for his crimes.
The former governor will likely be given a dorm-like room with a bed, a closet, maybe a roommate and that’s about it. There is a gym and a group lounge.
Ryan will be able to have visitors and can even order in food. With time, weekend visits home may be part of the plan. But they don’t come without disruption. Laski said the calls to confirm his whereabouts were exhausting.
Most “residents” as they are called, are required to get a job. Ryan , at 78, may or may not fall into that category because of his age. But he will have to play by the rules.