Jesse Jackson Jr. leaves federal prison, driving to halfway house

MONTGOMERY, AL -- Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. left federal prison in Montgomery, Alabama, early Thursday morning.

The Jackson entourage, consisting of his father, Reverend Jesse Jackson; his wife, Sandi Jackson; and the former congressman's two children, arrived at Maxwell Air Force Base around 4:15 a.m. Thursday.

Jackson family arrives at federal prison in Montgomery, Alabama, ahead of former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s transfer to a halfway house.

They are driving him to a halfway house in Baltimore. They are expected to arrive Thursday night.

Jesse Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign money on luxury items for himself and his family. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Jackson has served about 17 months behind bars and has about six months left to serve. He does not have to serve the entire time at the halfway house. He may just spend a few days there and be released to home confinement. The Bureau of Prisons will make that decision soon. The bureau will consider family issues and whether it is financially worthwhile to have a federal prisoner housed in a halfway house on the government's dime, when he could be at home.

In the case of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, it was only a few hours before he was released from a halfway house to his home in Kankakee, Ill. Two complications in Jackson's case are his his drug and alcohol treatment and how being at home could affect that, and his wife Sandi, who must report to prison herself to serve a year-long sentence in the case. She is scheduled to begin serving her sentence when her husband's officially ends on Sept. 20.

Delmarie Cobb, Jackson's former campaign manager, said while he likely won't serve in public office again, he could become a voice for public policy.

"His time has been served and he's headed to a halfway house. I mean, it gives me hope that he's well on his way to starting a new chapter in his life," Cobb said.

Sandi Jackson, a former City Council member, was sentenced to one year in prison after she was convicted of filing false tax returns.
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