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Former Governor George Ryan Released From Custody

George Ryan

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan arrives at a halfway house in Chicago Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, after serving five-plus years in federal prison on corruption charges. (M. Spencer Green/AP)

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was released from home confinement Wednesday, ending more than five ½ years in federal custody for wide-ranging corruption offenses.

The 79-year-old spent just over five years in federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., and in January was moved to home confinement at his residence in Kankakee, about 60 miles south of Chicago. For months, he was only allowed to leave for events such as doctor's appointments or to attend church.

Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke says Ryan was released Wednesday morning, a day ahead of schedule because of the July Fourth holiday. Burke did not have information about exactly where Ryan was released, but local media reported he was processed at a halfway house on Chicago's West Side.

"I feel wonderful. Freedom is a precious thing, and now I have mine," Ryan told the Chicago Sun-Times, which reported that the former governor was on his way to a barber shop to get a haircut.

Ryan was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison in 2007, but his sentence was reduced for good behavior.

The Republican was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI in 2006. He was also accused of stopping an investigation into secretary of state employees accepting bribes for truck driver's licenses.