CHICAGO - Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. left an Alabama federal prison early Thursday bound for a halfway house, where he begins his transition back into society two years after pleading guilty to spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking by phone shortly after picking up his 50-year-old son, described his release from the minimum security federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., as a "joyous reunion." He added that the younger Jackson was doing "very well."
He later said that his son will be living at the halfway house for six months. Federal officials have not confirmed that. Another possibility under U.S. Bureau of Prisons policy is for Jackson to serve the remainder of his 21/2-year term under home confinement.
"He is respecting the rules and the process," the elder Jackson said. "He is not asking for any special privileges."
Jackson would not say which halfway house his son, Illinois Democrat and Inmate No. 32451-016, was headed for.
Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who visited Jackson on Monday, said Jackson would go to a facility in Washington, D.C.
Jackson began his sentence on Nov. 1, 2013, and his release date is Sept. 20, 2015. After that, Jackson must spend three years on supervised release under jurisdiction of the U.S. Probation Office and complete 500 hours of community service.
At some point, it will be his wife's turn to serve out her punishment on a related conviction.
Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. In a concession to the couple's two children, a judge allowed the Jacksons to stagger their sentences, with the husband going first.