PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In his first interview since being released from prison, former State Rep. Bill DeWeese of Greene County discussed his time in jail and his concerns about the prison system.

The former Greene County lawmaker served in the House for 35 years, including two years as speaker.

Today, DeWeese  joined KDKA’s Marty Griffin in the studio for his first interview since being released.

“The moment I walked on the block, I was a very minor celebrity,” DeWeese told KDKA’s Marty Griffin said. He quoted one of the guards as saying, “You’re no [expletive] Jimmy Hoffa, but you’re the closest thing we’re going to get to a celebrity.”

Earlier this year, DeWeese was released from prison after finishing his sentence for political corruption, but despite being a convicted felon, he said he tries to remain positive and look to the future.

He believes his sentence of two and a half to five-years in prison was “a bit excessive.” He expressed his concerns within the prison system and states that there need to be changes for non-violent offenders.

“It doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be incarcerated, but many of them could be on an ankle bracelet,” he said.

He says he even wrote a rap song titled “Ain’t Got No Quarrel with the D.O.C.” (Department of Corrections).

The sting of being called a felon is “mild and momentary,” he said, pointing out that they won three elections after he was charged.

DeWeese said that of the 26 charged, he was the only one that got medium security, and as a result, he twice felt endangered during his incarceration.

DeWeese is appealing his 2012 conviction and wouldn’t discuss the details of the case.

The former Greene County lawmaker served in the House for 35 years, including two years as speaker. A jury convicted DeWeese of conspiracy, conflict of interest and three counts of theft for using public resources for political purposes. He was released on parole since he had no prior convictions.

Listen To The Full Interview Here:

DeWeese Released After Corruption Sentence (3/30/2014)
DeWeese To Be Released From Jail, While Veon Continues To Serve Time (3/28/2014)
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