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Jesse Jackson Jr. Changes Prisons, Could Be Released By End Of Year

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 8, 2014 3:40PM

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was transferred to an Alabama prison late last week and could be released from prison as early as the end of the year if he plays his cards right.

The Sun-Times reported Jackson was transferred from the federal correction center in Butner, N.C. to a minimum security facility in Birmingham, Ala. after he was placed in solitary confinement and clashed with prison officials. A source close to the situation told the Sun-Times Jackson had advised fellow inmates on their rights in prison, to which a guard took exception. Jackson was placed in solitary confinement for four or five days before a hearing cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Jackson will take part in a drug and alcohol treatment program while in Birmingham. That coupled with time off for good behavior and serving out the remainder of his sentence in a halfway house, means he could be freed from prison by year’s end. The drug and alcohol treatment program, known as RDAP, is available to inmates and can be used to reduce an inmate’s sentence. CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller told the Sun-Times the program “is a con” in many cases. “Inmates know if they go through the program, whether they need it or not, that they’re going to get six months off.”

Scott Fawell, a onetime top aide to former Gov. George Ryan, completed the program and admitted he did so simply to reduce his sentence. U.S. Judge James Zagel recommended the program for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in December 2011. Ultimately, though, it is up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to determine if an inmate qualifies.

Jackson, who is serving a 30-month prison sentence, is due to be released in April 2016 but the program and any time off he’s credited for good behavior means he can be released in December and serve six months at a halfway house.