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Prison Break

George Ryan decided to forgo doing his time at one of Forbes magazine’s “Best Places to Go to Prison” and reported to a prison closer to his family. Here, a look at the differences between the two facilities

On November 7th, former governor George Ryan reported to the minimum-security federal prison in Oxford, Wisconsin, less than a week after getting reassigned from the one in Duluth, Minnesota. What was he thinking? The Duluth prison made the 2006 Forbes “12 Best Places to Go to Prison” list, but Ryan preferred the Wisconsin location.

“Both Oxford and Duluth are fine institutions, and it’s not a matter of choosing one over the other, but the travel time to Oxford is better for his family,” his attorney, former governor Jim Thompson, said at the time. The other differences?

Security Level: Minimum
Security Level: Medium, with attached minimum camp
Population: 854
Population: 1,187 (205 in minimum security)
Staff Members: 85
Staff Members: 290
Miles from Chicago: 469
Miles from Chicago: 199
Starting Inmate Wage: 12 to 40 cents per hour (depending on the job and inmate experience)
Starting Inmate Wage: 12 cents an hour (goes up to 40 cents an hour)
Best Perk: Large collection of musical instruments
Best Perk: Culinary classes
Notable Illinois Alums:
Governor Dan Walker, Judge David Shields, Judge Michael McNulty
Notable Illinois Alums: Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, Alderman Lawrence Bloom, Alderman Virgil Jones, Alderman Ambrosio Medrano, Cook County commissioner Martin Tuchow



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