CHICAGO – Dennis Hastert will serve his 15-month sentence at a federal medical prison in Minnesota, as recommended by the federal judge who rejected the former U.S. House speaker’s plea for probation, sources close to the case confirmed Friday.
Hastert must surrender by 2 p.m. Wednesday for his conviction on federal bank violations stemming from a sensational hush-money case that unearthed decades-old sexual misconduct against minors.
At Hastert’s sentencing in Chicago in late April, U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin said Hastert, 74 and in declining health, should go to a prison with a high-level medical facility. With credit for good behavior, he could be in custody for about 12½ months.
Once second in line to the presidency, Hastert will be known while confined only as federal inmate No. 47991-424.
The Rochester Federal Medical Center is the closest prison of its kind to the Chicago area, roughly 350 miles away, and with nearly 700 inmates, it has the fewest inmates among the medical centers. It is one of five such facilities that serve complex medical needs of male inmates.
Other notable inmates to serve time in Rochester include former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, a Chicago Democrat, for mail fraud and Jim Bakker, the former television evangelist convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Jared Lee Loughner, the perpetrator of the 2011 Tucson, Ariz., shooting that killed six people and severely injured former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is assigned there.
Affiliated with the Mayo Clinic, Rochester is the primary medical facility for inmates with end-stage liver disease, advanced HIV infection and other infectious diseases that require long-term management, according to a bureau publication. Additionally, the medical center provides psychiatric and psychology services.
Durkin said he conferred with bureau officials to determine whether Hastert’s medical needs can be met while he is incarcerated. The judge acknowledged Hastert suffered a “catastrophic illness and is at risk for complications.”
Hastert’s defense team has said a blood infection nearly took his life after his guilty plea in October.