George Ryan Released From Federal Custody

Former Illinois governor heads home a day earlier than expected

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan took a big step toward becoming a free man Wednesday.

Ryan, 79, was released from federal custody a day earlier than expected. Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said Ryan was released Wednesday morning.

"I feel wonderful. I'm glad to be home," Ryan said outside his Kankakee home. "There's no place like home, especially in America and freedom's a great thing.  I'm glad I've got mine back."

Ryan served in state government for 40 years and spent nearly six years in prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for corruption. He was released from prison in January and bypassed staying at a halfway house to return to the Kankakee home he shared with his wife, who passed away while Ryan was in prison.

"It's an empty house without my wife of some 60 years," he said. "Friday was her birthday.  [It] cCaught up to me finally. She's 79. That's life."

His July 4 parole date was bumped up because of the holiday, two sources close to Ryan's family said.

His future plans include writing a book, albeit one that came with a warning.

"With any luck I won't put you in it," he said to a reporter. "If your name appears, it won't be good."

Ryan still has to serve the terms of his mandatory supervised release, which means he'll have to report to a parole officer for one year.

The main provisions of Ryan's release include:

  • He can commit no other crimes.
  • No controlled substances or excessive use of alcohol
  • No guns
  • Cannot travel outside the northern district of Illinois without the permission of his probation officer and cannot travel outside the continental United States without permission of his trial judge, Rebecca Pallmeyer.
  • Must maintain regular contact with his parole officer and provide a written report within 5 days of the beginning of each month.
  • Tax returns, bank statements, credit cards, etc, must remain open to inspection by his probation officer
  • Must notify them if he plans to move
  • Must not associate with anyone convicted of a felony, which would include some notable figures from his past life, including his former chief of staff Scott Fawell and co-defendant Larry Warner.

Ryan works at his son's insurance company and was required to report to the Chicago halfway home weekly.

Ryan was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $603,348, a figure that appears to have been satisfied.

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