Fumo goes home; spare the outrage

     (AP photo/Matt Rourke, file)

    (AP photo/Matt Rourke, file)

    I have to say, I didn’t expect this.

    Released from prison Tuesday, convicted former State Senator Vince Fumo didn’t even spend a night at the Philadelphia halfway house he was assigned to. He entered the parking lot of the Kintock Group home on Erie Avenue, riding in a pickup driven by his girlfriend, Carolyn Zinni, then left awhile later, headed home for good.

    I think I’ve spent longer at the drive-through window at Burger King.

    What happened?

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    Like every other inmate, the Bureau of Prisons prepared a release plan for Fumo long before he left the federal pen at Ashland, Kentucky, his home for nearly four years. That plan called for him to go to a residential re-entry facility and at some point, transition to home detention for the remainder of his sentence, which ends in February.

    It’s up to the staff at the halfway house to decide when an inmate should go to home detention. Federal authorities say that’s typically based on the needs and circumstances of the inmate, and the availability of beds at the halfway house.

    I’m surprised the Kintock staff waived Vince through to home detention, because it would look like this celebrity inmate was getting special treatment. But when you think about it, it makes sense.

    The Kintock Group home on Erie Avenue houses a lot of prisoners being released from both state and federal institutions. I have no doubt most of them need the transition services the home provides a lot more than Fumo.

    So while, yes, it may be satisfying to think of him living in a bunk with other cons on Erie Avenue, harried from time to time by TV crews, it’s a waste of tax dollars to give that bed to a guy with a comfortable home to go to. He’ll have to stay at his Spring Garden mansion except for trips to work, church, doctors and his lawyer.

    If it galls you to think of Vince spending the rest of his prison term in a spacious home with a wine cellar, remember that he spent nearly four years in prison being treated by all accounts like just another inmate.

    He’s lost his job and power, was publicly humiliated, and paid $3.9 million in fines and restitution (which prosecutors hope to increase by another $800,000). There’s also untold milllions in legal fees and the little matter of the IRS coming after him for $3 million or so.

    So Vince’s life isn’t a bowl of cherries.

    Yes, prosecutors wanted him to serve 15 years for his crimes and a lot of people thought he deserved it. We have a system for working those issues out, and the court has ruled.

    As i wrote in a piece Tuesday, I just hope Vince can focus now on rebuilding some of the fractured relationships in his family.

    The show is over. We should move on.

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