Former Illinois Governor George Ryan spends his first night Wednesday night out of prison in five years. He was convicted of corruption charges in 2007. Local political experts and a former lawmaker in General Assembly when Ryan was governor, react to his release.
"I can't imagine that someone who'd been a governor but also had been in prison pursuing a career." -says Rockford College Political Science & Economics Associate Professor Bob Evans.
George Ryan was convicted of using state resources to work on his campaigns, giving *friends state contracts and blocking an investigation into illegal licenses for truck drivers. Evans says if employment's not in Ryan's future, he could spend his time addressing his experiences.
"He could engage in public speaking about prison life, about the transition from prison life to being back in the population."
After Ryan's release from a Terre Haute, Indiana prison he checked into a Chicago halfway house for a few minutes then headed home to Kankakee.
"Those places are particularly for people who maybe have a drug and alcohol problem, maybe have a problem finding employment right away and so the idea is that they provide a smooth transition into society. Governor Ryan isn't in need of those services." -says local political expert P.S. Ruckman.
Former 68th District state representative Dave Winters, who served while Ryan was in the Governor's mansion says Ryan made every effort to know your name and district.
"He was also one who could make a compromise. Sometimes when Democrats and Republicans had a hard time reaching a compromise on major issues he was able to knock heads." -says Winters.
Ryan is Illinois' third governor out of four to spend time behind bars. Evans says the world watches this state's politics closely.
"The standards of expectations are higher, the media scrutiny is greater, I think we may see our politicians become less likely to break the law." -he says.
Ryan's home confinement is scheduled to end July 4th. Ryan's successor, Rod Blagojevich, is also in federal prison in Colorado for corruption as well. He got 14 years.
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