How George Ryan will likely spend last night in prison - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Insider reveals how George Ryan will likely spend last night in prison

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Former Governor George Ryan is hours from being released from a federal prison in Indiana to head to a halfway house on Chicago's Near West Side, where he'll serve the rest of his sentence for corruption.

Ryan has been at the Federal Prison in Terra Haute for the last five years and before that, served time in Oxford, Wisconsin.

His official release date is January 30th, which means he could walk out any time after midnight eastern time. FOX 32 has learned that Ryan will report to his Chicago halfway house by 7 a.m. to begin his transition into life after prison.

George Ryan's corruption conviction cost him more than six years of his life, but the impact of his crimes cost Scott and Janet Willis their six children. They died in a fiery crash in 1994 caused by a truck driver who paid bribes to illegally obtain his driver's license under Ryan's watch as Illinois Secretary of State.

Scott Willis, through his attorney said, "Mr. Ryan has been in his and his wife Janet's prayers. They are hopeful that he and others have learned something from this tragedy, so that it never happens again."

The Bureau of Prisons is not giving out details of Ryan's release, but they tell FOX 32's Craig Wall that when prisoners are transferred from a penitentiary to a halfway house, they are given an exact itinerary with driving directions and a report time. Ryan could be transferred by prison personnel, take a bus, or more likely will be picked up by family and driven to Chicago.

Former Ryan aide Scott Fawell, who himself served prison time after being convicted in the Licenses for Bribes scandal, said Ryan would likely have made some friends and would have spent these past few days saying goodbye.

"But ultimately, you say your goodbyes, but, you know, you're anxious to, you know, from the day you get in there you've waited for this moment, so you're pretty anxious to hit the bricks and get home," Fawell says.

Generally prisoners have to travel directly to their halfway house, but they can request special permission to make stops to visit family. The Bureau of Prison would not release any information about Ryan's travel instructions, but the warden did at one point allow Ryan out of prison for a short visit to see his ailing wife Lura Lynn, who has since died. It's not out of the question that he may get time to stop and see family in Kankakee before going to Chicago.

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