Thursday, March 26, 2015

‘Junior’ may be home again by week’s end. But will it be D.C., or So. Shore?

Sometime Thursday, federal inmate Jesse Jackson, Jr., will be released from the prison camp near Montgomery, Ala., where he has been held since last spring; and I’m sure his thoughts and prayers are focused on how quickly he can return to home.

Technically, Jackson remains in federal custody through Sept. 20, although his release to a halfway house in the District of Columbia is part of the process by which all federal inmates become re-accustomed to life outside of prison walls.

AND YES, I realize that Jackson was being held in a camp that was part of an air force base, but the imagery remains.

But the trick is going to be to decide whether Jackson can be determined to be such a non-threat to the society at large that it would be a waste of time to have him actually stay at the halfway house.

It’s a very real possibility.

Remember back when former Gov. George Ryan was released from the work camp that was attached to the federal prison near Terre Haute, Ind.? He reported to a halfway house on the West Side, and it was found within six hours that he didn’t need to be there.

HE WOUND UP spending that first night of “freedom” really free at his home near Kankakee. It’s very possible that depending on how late in the day you actually read this commentary, Jackson himself could be on his way home.

The only question being, “Which home?” The house he has in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington? Or the house in the South Shore neighborhood that gave him the address that enabled him to be a part of the Illinois congressional delegation for all those years?

Will Jesse, Jr., return to his South Side roots? Or find that a change of scenery is best for him to be capable of building a new life for himself. He did just turn 50 a couple of weeks ago, and is still capable of doing something significant to build his reputation.

Even though I’m sure there are certain ideologue crackpots who will only be satisfied if Jackson were to become a destitute bum. Of course, then they’d rant about him existing off the public welfare rolls.

SOME PEOPLE ARE just determined to be miserable to deal with! Like the ones who, I’m sure, are now ranting that Jackson should not be free anytime soon – even though his “criminal” offense wound up being the use of campaign funds to purchase assorted memorabilia to decorate the office.

Which makes me wonder about the ongoing mess that soon-to-be former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., faces. He being the guy who spent significant sums to re-decorate his own Capitol Hill space – is there something about interior decorating that attracts the suspicion of “the feds” to warrant indictment, conviction and incarceration?

It will be intriguing to see how the new Jackson comes to be.

While he had a political career of some significance with big dreams that fell short (“Mayor Jackson?”) of becoming reality, I don’t doubt he could come back to achieve some goals that could wind up topping his political significance.

OF COURSE, HE has to get through this ordeal first. Regardless of where he calls “home,” he’s likely to have to wear one of those funky ankle bracelets during the summer months so as to further demean him.

Then, sometime in mid-October, spouse Sandi (the former alderman who got busted for signing the income tax returns that allegedly tried legitimizing Jackson’s actions) will have to do her few months in prison – followed up by her own stint in a halfway house/home confinement.

When the Jacksons are finally (sometime late in 2016) finally able to get on with their lives, there is another benefit. Perhaps then we’ll be able to get over our public obsession over this case.

All of us will be a lot better off when that day comes.


No comments: