Blago Seeks Prison Rehab
Ex-gov granted extra month of freedom
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2011 2:23 AM CST
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich looks back at the crowd as he returns home with his wife Patti in Chicago after he was sentenced to 14 years in prison last week.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(Newser) – Rod Blagojevich is seeking to join a substance abuse program in federal prison, but some suspect the disgraced former Illinois governor is trying to shave time off his sentence rather than deal with a genuine drug or alcohol problem. Under federal guidelines, Blagojevich is likely to serve just under 12 years on his 14-year sentence for corruption. That could be cut to 11 years if he completes the nine-month substance abuse program. He would also be eligible to spend his last six months in a halfway house. The bar for entry into the program is set pretty low: Prison officials say that somebody who consumed as little as five drinks a week could qualify, the Chicago Tribune finds.

"Any defense lawyer in town that’s worth their salt all know about this, and they all try to get their clients in,” says a former aide to George Ryan, Blagojevich's jailed predecessor. "It’s the only game in town. It’s the only way you can get time off." Blagojevich was due to start his sentence in February, but a judge has granted him an extra month of freedom to help his family move from their house. At Blagojevich's request, the judge recommended that he be sent to a low-security prison in Colorado.