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Freed from prison, former Illinois governor goes into, out of halfway house in a morning

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George Ryan will sleep in his own bed tonight.

The Bureau of Prisons agreed to release Ryan from the Chicago halfway house he entered this morning and allow him to go home to his longtime residence in Kankakee, a source close to the former governor said.

Gov. Jim Thompson confirmed Ryan was released from the halfway house Wednesday morning and is back in Kankakee. Thompson said Ryan was released shortly after entering and as of 11:30 a.m. was in his living room, beaming and surrounded by grandchildren.

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Such moves are not unprecedented, but the speed with which Ryan was transitioned home was not expected. Many observers believed that Ryan would be required to stay at the Chicago halfway House for three weeks to a month before transitioning home.

"Home confinement is a regular program with the Bureau of Prisons just like the halfway house," Thompson said, speaking in front of Ryan's house as family members gathered on the porch, "because they can't fit everyone in a halfway house."

In essence, the rules will be the same. Ryan will be subject to the same reporting requirements he would have had to obey in Chicago. He will be subject to periodic checks from his counselor to make certain he is at home at the appropriate times.

Spokespeople for the halfway house said Ryan will be "vigorously monitored."

If he is required to get a job, he will still be expected to report when he is leaving his home, when he arrives for work, and when he departs his workplace to return home.