WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., arrived at a Baltimore halfway house on Thursday night, after leaving an Alabama federal prison near daybreak and climbing into a van with his family for the 800-mile, 14-hour ride.
“I’ve made mistakes and I’m prayful and hopeful that we’re a country of second chances, that the American people and the people of the City of Chicago will consider me for a second chance,” Jackson Jr. told reporters outside the Volunteers of America facility.
A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said Jackson Jr. arrived before 9 p.m. eastern time.
He made the drive with his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, his mom, wife Sandi and their two children. Rev. Jackson told me they arrived at the Montgomery minimum security prison camp after 4 a.m. to pick him up.
“He’s strong and he’s clear and just grateful to so many people and colleagues who have supported him at this phase. . . . He continues on this journey,” Rev. Jackson told me, speaking from the van earlier in the day.
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The Bureau of Prisons gave Jackson a deadline when he was expected to arrive at the Baltimore facility, with the road trip taking more than 15 hours.
As the Jackson van headed north on Interstate 85, it was tailed by at least two cars from Chicago television stations — with technology such that WLS-Channel 7 and WBBM-Channel 2 were broadcasting live from their chase vehicles.
After pleading guilty on Feb. 20, 2013, to looting campaign funds of $750,000, Jackson Jr. entered a federal prison in Butner, N.C., on Oct. 29, 2013. He was transferred to Montgomery on April 4, 2014.
Jackson was sentenced to 30 months, but the time he is actually serving is being reduced by several months for good conduct and completion of a substance-abuse program. At present his release date is Sept. 20.
Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit false statements and mail and wire fraud. Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty at the same time to filing a false federal income tax return.
After Jackson Jr. is out, within 30 days Sandi, a former 7th Ward alderman, will be given a surrender date to start serving her one-year term.
Jackson may well spend a short time at the Baltimore facility and then be sent to his DuPont Circle home in Washington to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Once at the halfway house, Jackson will have to fill out paperwork and acknowledge the rules by which he will be required to live. He will be expected to be employed or actively seeking a job.