A federal judge has agreed to delay the start of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's prison term and allow him to enter into a substance abuse program. Judge James B. Zagel agreed Tuesday to allow Blagojevich to report to prison March 15, 2012. Blagojevich previously was ordered to begin serving his 14-year term on Feb. 16. He was convicted of political corruption in June.
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Blagojevich's attorneys asked for more time so he could help his family move into a new home. Blagojevich’s attorneys also told the judge that the ex-governor requested to be recommended for the Residential Drug Abuse Program. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an inmate must have a documented pattern of substance abuse in the year before the arrest. While Attorney Sheldon Sorosky wouldn’t specifically address questions about the RDAP request, The Bureau of Prisons says inmates participating in RDAP live in a unit separate from the general population and work only a half day with the rest of the day devoted to the program. Participating could also reduce his sentence by a year. It’s not publicly known if Blagojevich had or currently has a substance abuse problem. The Bureau of Prisons will have the final say on his enrollment. The judge also agreed to recommend that Blagojevich be sent to the Englewood prison in Colorado, which like the RDAP program is up to the bureau. Sorosky says he isn’t sure why Blagojevich wants that prison but Blagojevich’s wife and children aren’t moving to Colorado.