Former governor George Ryan was released from federal prison this morning and is now back at his home in Kankakee surrounded by friends and family.
The former governor made his one and only public appearance outside a halfway house in Chicago today. Dressed in a gray coat, maroon tie and accompanied by his only son and long time friend and lawyer Jim Thompson, George Ryan, once a powerhouse Republican in Illinois surfaced at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday morning after just more than 5 years in prison. With his hands in his pockets he said nothing as he entered, then a short time later exited the building.
The fact that George Ryan walked out of prison and more or less into his own home, has more to do with his age of 78 (almost 79), than it does with preferential treatment according to the Bureau of Prisons and Ryan’s lawyer.
By 10:30 a.m. Ryan was at home in Kankakee. The former one term governor was reunited with his six children and more than a dozen grandchildren.
But a return home for George Ryan likely feels different for him for a lot of reasons. His wife of 50 years, Lura Lynn is no longer there. By his side every step of his courtroom fight, she died in June of 2011. Ryan had been allowed twice to leave prison to be by the side of his high school sweetheart. His brother Tom also passed away while Ryan was behind bars.
Ryan is now ordered to home confinement until his sentence is fully served.
A spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons tells WGN prisoners are eligible for home confinement when they have “six months or less than 10 percent of their sentence left.” And while Ryan could have been required to wear an ankle bracelet, the BOP decided it wasn’t necessary in his case and maintains it is not special treatment.
Ryan was at the halfway house for a few hours at the most. how long a prisoner remains in the crowded facility depends on “financial support, family support, an approved release residence and his health issues,” said BOP spokesperson Chris Burke.
Ryan will not be living alone. His lawyer tells us his 18 year old grandson will be living with him. This home confinement chapter ends on July 4th of this year when he has fully served his time.