George Ryan to be released to Near West Side halfway house - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

George Ryan to be released to city halfway house Wednesday

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Former Governor George Ryan can almost count the hours until his release from a federal prison camp in Indiana. His attorneys say he'll be released on Wednesday to a halfway house in Chicago.

It's not exactly the Governor's mansion in Springfield, but the Salvation Army Halfway House on Chicago's Near West Side is surely a step up from the prison camp in Terre Haute where George Ryan has spent the last five years.

Ryan's attorneys say he'll be released to the halfway house on Wednesday. Just how he'll get there and precisely when he'll arrive hasn't been revealed.

On Monday, the Salvation Army provided a video, showing the halfway house's common living area, the dining room and kitchen, gym and workout facilities, and individual rooms, where residents stay as they make the transition back to their freedom.

Former Ryan aide Scott Fawell, who also went to prison as part of Ryan's license for bribes scandal, spent about three weeks at the halfway house.

"You get to the halfway house, and they'll put you through an orientation," Fawell explains. "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."

Fawell predicts that Ryan will spend a couple of weeks at the halfway house. Then he'll be allowed to move back to his Kankakee home. There, he'll be required to check in often by phone, with weekly trips back to the halfway house.

"You have to do drops. They want to test for alcohol and drugs. You have to go back and talk to a counselor. You have to go back to do some group work," Fawell says. "So you're back there a lot even when you go home."

The Salvation Army's website says residents are coached on topics like preparing resumes, and searching for jobs online. They're expected to start looking for work within 21 days of their arrival.

There's no indication whether a 78-year-old like George Ryan might just be allowed to retire, rather than look for a job.

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