George Ryan skips halfway house, released to home confinement - Fox 2 News Headlines

George Ryan skips halfway house, released to home confinement

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

FOX 32 News reports former Illinois Governor George Ryan was released to home confinement on Wednesday, after spending a short time at the halfway house he checked into earlier that morning.

SEE: George Ryan released, arrived at halfway house undetected

Ryan, 78, was released to a home confinement plan at his home in Kankakee. As of 10:30 a.m., he was sitting in his living room, enjoying his 17 children and grandchildren, waiting to begin his life after federal prison.

Sources close to the ex-Illinois governor said the Bureau of Prisons, which controls Ryan's destination, apparently decided that he would not benefit from the programs offered at the Chicago halfway house - like check writing and how to write a resume.

Bureau of Prisons' spokesman Chris Burke said Ryan's status wasn't factored in. He said rules prevent him from speaking about Ryan's specific case. But he said age and health are typically among the factors.

George Ryan's lawyer, Jim Thompson, also spoke on the matter saying they didn't cut his client a break because he's a former governor. Thompson says the U.S. Bureau of Prisons "is tough" and doesn't "play favorites."

"There no point in his taking up room in a halfway house and denying that to somebody else if he doesn't need the services that they do," Thompson said. "I think it was a wise decision by the Bureau of Prisons, but it's not something I asked for, it's not something he asked for. So it is in no way preferential treatment."

Former Governor Ryan left federal prison in Terra Haute, Ind. around 1 a.m. Wednesday, after serving more than five years for corruption.

His son, Homer, drove him to Governor Jim Thompson's downtown home around 4:30 a.m., where Ryan changed from his prison sweats into a coat and a tie. Then, it was off to Chicago's Near West Side, where he arrived for orientation at the Salvation Army halfway house around 5 a.m.

Shortly after 7 a.m., Ryan walked past FOX 32 News cameras to a second building where he checked out.

He then slipped out a back door and headed to Kankakee while his spokesman, former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson, spoke to the media. Thompson said Ryan was not allowed to talk to the press.

Thompson briefed the media around noon Wednesday, saying that Ryan received a warm welcome when he returned to his Kankakee home. Many of his children and grandchildren were there.

But he also said it would have been a more joyous occasion if his late wife, Lura-Lynn Ryan had lived to see his release. Ryan was allowed to spend a short time at her bedside, just before she passed in 2011.

Andrea Lyon, a lead member of Ryan's legal team, told FOX 32 News Wednesday morning that it was very hard to watch Lura-Lynn turn ill and pass without Ryan there.

They were high school sweethearts.

As for reports he'll be visiting her grave site, Jim

Thompson said her body was cremated. An urn with her ashes sits in the home that Ryan returned to Wednesday.

At an unrelated news conference, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn spoke about Ryan, saying he served his sentence and it's time to move forward. He also said Ryan's corruption case marks a very sad chapter in Illinois history. Quinn specifically mentioned the Rev. Scott Willis and his wife Janet, who lost six children in the accident that helped trigger the Ryan investigation.

Ryan's family declined to talk about the homecoming, and Thompson said Ryan can't talk to reporters until his sentence ends on July 4. One of Ryan's grandsons will stay with him and Ryan can leave his home only on rare occasions like doctor's appointments or with prior permission.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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