Former Illinois Governor George Ryan avoided a throng of reporters by entering the Oxford federal prison in Wisconsin through the back door Wednesday to begin serving his prison sentence.
Oxford spokeswoman Christine Montonna says because Ryan is a high-profile prisoner, he entered through the back gate for security reasons.
The 73-year-old Republican will serve six-and-a-half years at the rural prison.
Ryan was convicted in April 2006 of steering contracts, tax fraud, misuse of tax dollars and state workers, and stopping a bribery investigation.
He and Lura Lynn Ryan, his wife of more than 50 years, left their home in Kankakee before daybreak Wednesday morning to make the 255-mile drive to Oxford. Ryan has maintained his innocence and says he goes to prison with a clear conscience.