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Illinois’ New Prison Record

November 28th, 2011 at 1:41 am | 26 Comments |

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Here’s an interesting fact: With former Governor Rod Blagojevich headed for what’s almost sure to be a long stay behind bars (his most important ally, Tony Rezko, just got a 10 1/2 year sentence) Illinois will have the dubious distinction of being the first state in U.S. history to have two former governors in civilian prisons at the same time.

Blagojevich’s predecessor, George Ryan, although briefly released to be with his dying wife, still has a few years left on his sentence. (Most politically prominent southerners, including those out of power, were at least briefly taken into federal custody during Reconstruction.)

Four of the last eight Illinois governors have been convinced on corruption-related charges (one for crimes committed after his time in public office) and, best as I can tell, no other state has come close. Actually, putting reconstruction aside, only one other state–Louisiana–has even had two governors go to jail since 1900 and they served their time more than six decades apart.

So…congrats to Illinois…or something like that.

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26 Comments so far ↓

  • Cyberax

    Why not jail governors immediately after the election? It would just save time!

  • Ray_Harwick

    best as I can tell, no other state has come close.

    Still, you have to wonder how Rick Perry had such miraculous luck in real estate. His good fortune certainly doesn’t pair with his campaign narrative of being a hard-scrabble cotton picker. You just cannot fathom the amount of character that can be obtained from the mere coincidental circumstance of having lived on a farm. My God! If it were a given that farm life produced such splendid character, the suburbs of Dallas, Houston, El Paso, Austin and San Antonio would be empty by Christmas and the cotton crop resulting from the migration would blot out the sun.

  • carinthia

    George Ryan received a sentence of 10 1/2 years yet he is allowed out to be with his dying wife? I bet Joe Nobody serving this kind of sentence would never be allowed out to be with his dying wife. Will this elitism ever end?

    • indy

      I believe Ryan received a sentence of 6.5 years.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      I am sure Prison officials took into consideration such things as flight risk and propensity to commit more crimes, neither seemed remotely likely so I have no problem with compassionate leave. I also have no idea if it extends down lower, but all things being equal if there is no flight risk, no likelihood of another crime, and if the offense was non-violent than I would have no problems with it for anyone.

      • carinthia

        I have no problems with compassionate leave either. My point is…not just “anyone” gets compassionate leave even if they meet the criteria.

  • NRA Liberal

    I’m waiting for the day when two former Goldman Sachs CEOS are in prison at the same time.

  • chicago_guy

    At least our governors DO get tried when their corruption is discovered. What are Lousiana, South Carolina, Texas, and Florida’s excuses?

  • indy

    Illinois will have the dubious distinction of being the first state in U.S. history to have two former governors in civilian prisons at the same time.

    Hmmmm, this seems pretty iffy. There was approximately a year between the time Ryan was sentenced and the time he was actually reported to jail pending the outcome of his appeals since he was allowed appeal bond. Ryan is scheduled to be released mid-year, 2013. I doubt Blagojevich’s appeals will be exhausted by then and since he will also get appeal bond, so he probably won’t report until after Ryan is released but it will be close. Hilarious if they could make it happen the same day, and give Ryan’s cell to Blagojevich.

    Otherwise, yeah, point taken about Illinois politics. Our corruption is party blind.

  • Fart Carbuncle


    The same state that elected the far left nutbags Carol Moseley Brown and B. Obama.

  • hisgirlfriday

    If only Patrick Fitzgerald could be cloned and placed as U.S. attorney in all fifty states, I have a feeling the average would go up nationwide.

  • Traveler51

    Illinois should consider a prison next to the capital building. The governors would be able to walk to work on the work release program saving the state transportation charges. Also, back in the 60′s, Paul Powell died and left a mysterious shoebox filled with cash in his closet. At least we are bi-partisan here when sending Governors to Jail. Dan Walker, Otto Kerner, Ryan and Blago…a mix of dems and repubs.

  • iveyguy

    “Only one other state–Louisiana–has even had two governors go to jail since 1900″

    I am not sure if the biggest indictment in the article is against Illinois. Rather when the above use “two” not “one” and also used 1900 as the yard stick, that really does not sound all that flattering to the other 49 states in the Union.

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