Ill. ex-Gov. Ryan: Blagojevich sentence "miscarriage of justice" - KMSP-TV

Ill. ex-Gov. Ryan: Blagojevich sentence "miscarriage of justice"

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Former Illinois Governor George Ryan has finished a year of supervision following his release from home confinement last summer after a prison sentence for corruption convictions.

Ryan was released from prison in January 2013 and was confined at home until last July. At the time, his lawyer and friend former Gov. Jim Thompson said Ryan was subject to another year of supervision and some travel restrictions. That ends this week.

Ryan spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times in a story published Wednesday, offering some details of his time in prison and since being released. He said that some prison guards "made things a little rough" because they were not happy with his decision as governor to put a moratorium on the death penalty.

Ryan said that among his regrets in life is letting the execution of the last person in Illinois proceed before he placed a moratorium on capital punishment.

Referring to the execution of Andrew Kokoraleis, Ryan said, "I regretted killing that Greek fella."

He also spoke about Former Governor Rod Blagojevich and his arrest.

“I think it was another miscarriage of justice, frankly. I'm not sure what his crime was. And certainly, fourteen years was, I thought, just horrendous,” Ryan said.

Ryan, free to speak publicly for the first time in years, said that Blagojevich wasn’t a murderer or rapist, and deserved a much shorter sentence -- if he committed any crimes at all.

As to his own five years in a Terre Haute prison, Ryan had an interesting choice of words.

“It was a total waste of time and it is for a lot of those people who are there. The part that's most disturbing to me is that there's no real rehabilitation going on, in the camp that I was in, at least,” Ryan added.

He said that prison life reminded him of being in the army.

“I'd get up at six in the morning and I'd go to breakfast, go do my job at the carpenter's shop, come back to my room and change my clothes, I could play volleyball, basketball, softball, walk the track, play bocce ball, watch television, go to the library; which is a joke,” said Ryan.

The former governor said that the hardest part of being incarcerated was the loss of freedom, and the deaths of his wife Lura Lynn and his brother.

He has not changed his views that he was wrongly convicted in the license for bribes scandal, and unfairly linked to the crash that killed six children of Scott and Janet Willis.

“Lura Lynn and I felt very deeply sorry and sad for what happened, it's a terrible loss. I, however, don't feel any guilt, or any reason to think I had anything to do with that,” Ryan added.

Ryan, a Republican, was convicted in 2006.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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