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Ex-Ill. governor released from jail

CHICAGO — Former governor George Ryan of Illinois was back at his longtime home on Wednesday following his pre-dawn release from a federal prison after serving more than five years for corruption.

He first reported to a halfway house in Chicago but in a development that took observers by surprise was allowed to go to his spacious home in Kankakee. He will be under home confinement for at least several weeks, his lawyer, Jim Thompson, said.

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Speaking from Ryan’s living room, Thompson said the former governor was beaming and surrounded by his smiling grandchildren

Thompson said officials decided Ryan did not require the services halfway houses provide, which include ensuring ex-cons can use a checkbook.

Ryan will still be subject to strict rules, including prohibitions against speaking to the media or leaving the house. Thompson added that Ryan was granted retirement status by authorities, so he will not be required to find a job.

Ryan was sentenced to 6 ½ years on Nov. 7, 2007, and his term officially ends July 4 after compiling 305 days credit for good conduct, said Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke.

Ryan, 78, left the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, five months before his prison term officially ended, having qualified for early release.

Wearing a gray business suit and tie, Ryan smiled faintly but didn’t speak to reporters as he walked into the red-bricked facility on the city’s West Side just before 7 a.m.

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