AP source: Sheldon Silver released from prison on furlough

State News

FILE – In this May 11, 2018 file photo, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver leaves federal court in New York. Silver has been released from a federal prison on furlough, while he awaits potential placement to home confinement. That’s according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke with The Associated Press on Tuesday (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been released from federal prison on furlough while he awaits potential placement to home confinement, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.

Silver, 77, began serving his more than six-year sentence at a federal prison in Otisville, New York, in August after years of fending off going behind bars in a corruption case. He has been released to his home while awaiting the final decision on whether he can serve the rest of his sentence there in home confinement, the person said. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.

In a statement, the federal Bureau of Prisons said the agency can transfer inmates to their home on furlough for periods of time while they are considered for home confinement or to be sent to a halfway house. The agency has been moving some inmates to furlough in an effort to get those expected to transition to home confinement out of correctional facilities sooner.

Congress gave the Justice Department expanded powers during the coronavirus pandemic to release inmates on furlough and home confinement. In January, the Justice Department issued a memo that said the Bureau of Prisons may have to return some inmates serving extended terms of home confinement to prison once the coronavirus emergency period that was established by Congress expires.

Silver is still designated to the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, and his projected release date is March 10, 2026. Even so, the Bureau of Prisons says it has the “authority to transfer inmates to their home on furlough for periods of time while they may continue to be considered for home confinement designation, or transfer inmates to community confinement overseen by a Residential Reentry Management Office. Community confinement means the inmate is in either home confinement or a Residential Reentry Center (RRC, or halfway house).”

Silver, a Democrat, was ousted as speaker in 2015 and convicted later that year, but appeals had kept him out of prison. His conviction in federal court in Manhattan was overturned on appeal before he was convicted again in 2018. He has a projected release date from federal custody in 2026.

Part of that conviction was then tossed out on another appeal, leading to yet another sentencing in July when he asked a judge not to let him die in prison. His lawyers had sought a term of home confinement, arguing that sending him to prison would worsen existing health issues or risk having him die from the coronavirus.

Dean Skelos—Sheldon’s former counterpart in the Senate—was previously imprisoned in Otisville. He was released due to the virus just about a year ago, in April 2020, to finish his sentence in home confinement.

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