*Could Jesse Jackson Jr. taste freedom sooner than expected?
That seems to a possibility, according to a Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke, who told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday that Jackson will be eligible to leave federal prison and serve out the final year of his sentence in a halfway house beginning Sept. 20. News of the former Illinois Democratic Representative’s early release comes a day after officials announced Jackson could have more than three months shaved off his sentence.
Under federal prison guidelines, officials may request a reduction of an inmate’s sentence of up to one year upon successful completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program, the Huffington Post reports. Regarding what treatment Jackson may have received while serving time, Burke was tight-lipped.
“We don’t discuss an inmate’s programming history,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jackson was sentenced to two and a half years in 2013 for illegally spending $750,000 of campaign funds. He was originally projected to be released from prison Dec. 31, 2015.
A recent court filing revealed Jackson paid the remaining $550,000 in restitution he owed the U.S. government, the Post reports. Last month, the disgraced politician, who wrote a check for $200,000 to the U.S. Marshals upon entering prison, is taking steps to pay off the remaining balance by refinancing one of the two homes he and wife Sandi Jackson have in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Convicted at the same time as her husband, Sandi Jackson was sentenced to one year in prison for filing false tax returns. A federal judge in the former Chicago councilwoman’s case allowed Sandi Jackson to serve her sentence after her husband’s in order to have at least one parent free to look after the couple’s young children.
Speaking with the Tribune, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman stated that there is no link between Jackson’s restitution payment and new projected release date. The two scenarios, in the eyes of the spokesman, are “unrelated.”
If Jackson’s new anticipated release date of Sept. 20, 2015 holds, the politician will be free after serving less than two years of his original sentence.