Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ryan moved to Indiana prison

Ex-governor George H. Ryan, 74, was transferred to a prison closer to his Kankakee home in the last days of February.

Ryan had chosen the Oxford Institution at Oxford, Wis., which is called the country club, as his preference when he began serving a six and one-half year prison sentence for corruption last November. But he was moved from what had become his home there. He was trans-ferred to the minimum-security Terre Haute Federal Institution at Terre Haute, Ind.

Unbeknownst to Ryan when he began serving his sentence, the medical care requirements at Ox-ford changed. Under new regula-tions, the Oxford facility could only care for inmates 70 years or younger. Ryan just turned 74.

The Terre Haute facility is lo-cated about 70 miles west of In-dianapolis on Interstate 70. It is a minimum-security institution that houses male inmates. A high-security institution shares the Federal Correctional Com-plex. It is at that maximum-security prison that the only death chamber in the federal pri-son system is housed. It is where Timothy McVeigh, the Okla-homa City bomber was executed in 2001.

Ironically, as governor, Ryan gained international attention for his declaration of a moratorium on executions in Illinois. He in-tended to revamp the capital punishment system.

While governor, he commuted all of the death sentences in Illi-nois. More than 160 inmates were given a reprieve, moving from death row to life in prison.

It was for that effort that Uni-versity of Illinois Law and Hu-man Rights Professor Francis Boyle has nominated Ryan for the Nobel Peace Prize for several consecutive years.

Because of the timing, some believed Ryan’s actions were simply a ruse to deflect interest from the scandal that ultimately cost him his freedom.

Ryan’s lawyers are still hoping for an appeal by the U.S. Su-preme Court to rehear his case. If there is no appeal, he is ex-pected to be released in 2013.

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