George Ryan, former governor of Illinois, has served five years for racketeering and conspiracy. While George Ryan was in prison, his wife and brother died, and Illinois enacted reforms meant to thwart political wheeling and dealing.
When former Illinois Gov. George Ryan steps out of prison on Wednesday after serving five-plus years for corruption, he will return to a life altered by personal tragedy and to a state altered by his and his successor's legacy of corruption.
Ryan, who is headed to a halfway house in Chicago, will encounter an Illinois that has enacted reforms meant to thwart the kind of wheeling and dealing the Republican was accused of engaging in. The state has also changed because of Ryan's legal actions as governor: Following his lead, Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011.
His personal tragedies include the death of his wife and brother while Ryan was behind bars. Change for the 78-year-old has also included weight loss from walking the grounds at his Terre Haute, Ind., prison, said friend Rob Warden, who visited Ryan a few months ago and has corresponded with him over his years behind bars.
Page 1 of 4