Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandra, arrive at federal court in Washington, Aug. 14, 2013, to learn their fates when a federal judge sentenced the one-time power couple. (AP File Photo/Susan Walsh)
Jesse Jackson Jr. could get out of prison three months early
Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., could get out of federal prison more than three months earlier than originally expected.
The disgraced former congressman is now scheduled to be released Sept. 20, 2015. His previous release date was Dec. 31, 2015.
According to Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke, the shortened sentence is pursuant to a federal law that allows the reduction of an inmate’s sentence of up to one year if the inmate successfully completes a drug or alcohol treatment program.
Burke could not comment on any treatment Jackson may have received while in prison.
“We don’t discuss an inmate’s programming history,” he said.
Jackson, 49, a South Side Democrat and son of the famed civil rights leader, pleaded guilty to illegally spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds on personal items. When he was sentenced last year, his lawyers asked for leniency because was suffering from bipolar disorder.
He received a 2-1/2 year sentence and was sent to a federal prison in North Carolina in late October of last year.
But a guard objected when Jackson began advising fellow inmates of their rights, and the former congressman was placed in solitary confinement for a few days, according to a source.
Jackson was cleared of any wrongdoing at a hearing, but he asked for a transfer to another prison and was sent to a minimum-security prison camp in Montgomery, Ala., the source said.
If the new release date holds true, he will have served less than two years.
While serving his stint in prison, Jackson has worked scrubbing toilets, showers and sinks, according to a former inmate who served time with him. In a statement written by Jackson in prison and released by the former inmate, Jackson also urged President Barack Obama to pardon inmates who served their sentences.
In an unrelated development, Jackson repaid the $550,000 he was ordered to pay as part of his punishment, according to a court filing.
Jackson’s wife, Sandi Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns. She will not begin serving her sentence until her husband is out of prison.
Contributing: LeeAnn Shelton