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Blagojevich boasts about accomplishments in op-ed supposedly about prison reform

Friday, Sep 28, 2018

* Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich writes about prison reform, but of course he makes it mostly about himself

Before my arrest and retrial, my life was the American dream.

Growing up, I had shined shoes, worked in a slaughterhouse, worked on the Alaskan oil pipeline, and delivered pizzas. I went to law school, I was a prosecutor for two years, I served in the Illinois House, the U.S. Congress, and was twice-elected governor. I won 14 elections in a row.

My gubernatorial administration made historic progress in Illinois on women’s and children’s healthcare. We opened free preschool to every 3- and 4-year-old. We also reduced repeat crimes by ex-offenders. My initiative, “Inside Out,” provided better access to education, job training, substance abuse treatment and counseling services to inmates and parolees. This led to the lowest conviction rate among parolees in Illinois history; a reduction in arrests among the parolee population; and reductions in repeat incarceration among parolees with substance abuse issues. The dramatic drop in recidivism even saved the state of Illinois $64 million in incarceration costs over a four-year span from 2004 to 2008.

Today however, I am living the reverse American dream – a bad dream that I share with other inmates at a prison in Colorado where I am currently serving a 14-year sentence. So what happened?

He got caught. That’s what happened. Anyway, he does make a few good points, so click here if you’re inclined.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - Ryan - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:04 am:

    Interesting how he had it placed it in a newspaper Trump reads. I wonder why….


  2. - Taxpayer 1 - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:05 am:

    He should be granted clemency


  3. - Monkey Business - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    Rod, nobody to blame but yourself.


  4. - Real - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    I come with compassion and mercy. Would like to see Trump commute his sentence or pardon Blagoevich.


  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:20 am:

    I’m sure he’s hoping to get his name in front of Trump administration types. If that’s the case, he should have gone harder on Justice Dept. and FBI, and praised Trump in some way.

    I don’t know that the Examiner was Blago’s first choice. From what I’ve read, Trump scans the NYT and WP for coverage of himself, and reads the New York Post for gossip.


  6. - Commonsense in Illinois - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    Odd, in the beginning he touts his own record while Governor, but includes no details in the body of the piece. Perhaps because there were none?


  7. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    I’d be OK with a commutation to time served, not a pardon, but his cynically begging for it (that’s what he’s doing) is unseemly. His points are fine but a good editor could have removed the fluffy preamble.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    Rod’s sentence should be commuted.

    Rod should remain a convicted felon for all time, no pardon, no absolving.

    I dunno what it says when a convicted felon ex-governor is more thoughtful to the job of governor while incarcerated then while holding the office he corrupted for himself.

    It’s a good read.


  9. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    His article makes some excellent points. Don’t comment unless you read it.

    The “Three ‘R’s” of penology are Restitution, Rehabilitation, and Retribution.

    The federal criminal justice system has been and continues to be a stepping stone where ambitious men and women build a reputation to propel them into political office. Many governors, mayors and senators are former federal prosecutors.

    Not only is this wrong, but it doesn’t do much for the Three ‘R’s. Prisons are failing because of an overemphasis on retribution. No, prisons shouldn’t be country clubs, but Blagojevich raises some legitimate abuses in his article.

    The feds, especially, like to make examples of people. It scares the rest of us. It makes voters happy. But does it reduce crime?

    The justice system in the U.S. is one of the hottest potatoes in politics. Washington could reform it but doesn’t have the guts.

    And so it goes on and on.


  10. - Honeybadger - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    His sentence was way too harsh and he has served more than enough time. He should be released and or granted clemency.


  11. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:37 am:

    Real prison reformer. Showed lots of mercy in sitting on pardons. Believe he set a record for ingnoring requests
    That send he should have his sentence commuted


  12. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:37 am:

    Actually he worked in TWO slaughterhouses, the second being his time as governor.


  13. - Not It - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:46 am:

    Dude, you got caught breaking the law. I don’t feel sorry for you. You shook down people for government favors in exchange for campaign donations. That is illegal. Get over it. Accept your punishment like a man.


  14. - Wylie Coyote - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:46 am:

    Let’s ask all the victims of his political charades whether Blago should be let off the hook. I’ll listen to them before some of the ‘politicos’ on this blog.


  15. - Monkey Business - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    No pardon, no commutation, until Rod finally admits his guilt.

    Until he does that, he can rot.


  16. - Angry Republican - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 10:57 am:

    I don’t think Rod’s punishment was harsh enough, but I do expect Trump to commute his sentence when it can do the maximum amount of damage to a politician he doesn’t like. Perhaps just before the Chicago mayoral election.


  17. - JS Mill - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    He was duly tried and convicted. He should serve his full sentence. He has never accepted guilt for his actions. No reduction.


  18. - zatoichi - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    He got caught and ran the clock out. No different than Bill Cosby or other famous people who have been convicted. Do the time.


  19. - Just Observing - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    Right message; wrong messenger.


  20. - flea - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    He needs to stay where he’s at until his sentence is finished. No mercy for this sociopath.


  21. - Try Try Try Agan - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    Rod’s funniest quote: “As a dishwasher, I start work at 3:30 each morning and earn a total of $8.40 a month. Did you know that the average wage for an inmate is 23 cents to $1.15 an hour? In some states, inmates have to work for free. I never expected to get rich in prison, but am I wrong in viewing this rock-bottom wage as society’s way of showing its contempt, telling us that we are all worthless? Is that a good message to send to people we plan to release someday, and whom we’d rather not see offend again? To people we hope will survive on their own without resorting again to crime?”


  22. - Wylie Coyote - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    That’s right, Rod. We’d rather not see you again…


  23. - Professor - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    He betrayed the people’s trust in the highest office in the state, and he shows no remorse for what he has done. He was, and still is, a master at public relations, and will exploit any issue to remove the focus from what he had done, to some general issue. His lack of acceptance of his crime and lack of remorse is why he is still in prison.


  24. - Practical Politics - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 1:17 pm:

    His father-in-law (a Democratic Ward Committeeman) installed him in a safe seat in the General Assembly. That is an easy way to start in politics. He did not gain office on the basis of merit. He won due to clout.

    I will grant that he did win three contested elections against formidable opponents (his first Congressional race and the two gubernatorial races), but the rest were routine races.


  25. - Pundent - Friday, Sep 28, 18 @ 4:17 pm:

    When you consider Rod’s approach to the criminal justice system when he was governor this all rings hollow.

    I have no doubt that there are inequities in our criminal justice system and the sentences that get metered out. But I can’t find sympathy for Rod merely because he has a platform due to his notoriety as governor. I’m sure that there are other stories of lengthy sentences that are far more compelling than his. He thumbed his nose at the people of Illinois and the criminal justice system. The process worked as it should and these are the consequences.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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