Actual time served

The story Statistics prove Hilton is getting a raw deal  shows the seamy underbelly of American penal system. Because convicted car-criminals aren’t considered dangerous, they usually end up serving absurdly short amount of time — even for a serious offense like driving without a license while on probation for DUI! Hilton eventually served the full 23 days — but we are told that the “normal” amount of time actually served for similarly situated (but non-celebrity) individuals is 4 days. With FOUR TIMES the number of folks being killed on the highways as by “old fashioned” murderers (roughly 40,000 versus 10,000 per year in the US) perhaps it is time to rethink the notion of who is more dangerous.

The Los Angeles Times analysed two million jail releases and identified 1,500 cases since July 2002 that involved defendants arrested for drink driving and then sentenced to jail after violating their probation by driving without a licence.
Around 60 per cent left jail after four days…

Statistics prove Hilton is getting a raw deal

By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles

Last Updated: 17/06/2007

The Los Angeles Times analysed two million jail releases and identified 1,500 cases since July 2002 that involved defendants arrested for drink driving and then sentenced to jail after violating their probation by driving without a licence.

Around 60 per cent left jail after four days. But Hilton was last week ordered to serve the full 23 days of her sentence, meaning she will end up doing more time than 80 per cent of others in similar situations.

The high-profile case became mired in allegations of favouritism after Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca released Hilton to home detention after just three days in jail citing an unspecified medical condition.

A furious judge overruled him and sent the hotel heiress back to prison the next day.

But now, as Mr Baca tries to explain his actions to a panel investigating the incident, it appears the pendulum has swung the other way.

The row continued as Hilton was last night transferred from the medical ward where she had been held since the weekend to the women’s jail in Lynwood, California, where she was originally detained.

She began her sentence for probation violation there on June 3, where she was in solitary confinement in a special unit away from other inmates.

Amid reports of her becoming hysterical, sobbing and refusing to eat, she was allowed home last Thursday before the judge in her case, Michael Sauer, sent her to the Los Angeles County Jail’s treatment centre for medical and psychiatric examination.

Mr Sauer had stressed at Hilton’s sentencing that she was not to be released early. Hilton left the courtroom on Friday in tears, shouting “It’s not right!”

It is not known in which part of the 2,200 inmate facility at Lynwood the 26-year-old is now being held.

She has been sentenced to 45 days but is expected to serve 23.

So far her sister, Nicky, and her parents have visited her in jail, causing new allegations of preferential treatment by breezing past queues of other inmates’ relatives.

Kathy Hilton said her daughter was cold and having trouble sleeping but was getting her appetite back.

According to the Los Angeles Times’ analysis of jail records, before 2002, when an early-release programme to ease overcrowding was launched, inmates with cases similar to Hilton’s were sentenced to terms of around 23 days and actually served 20 days.

After the programme began, the average term was cut to around 14 days, with inmates actually serving an average of four days. So Hilton’s early release last Friday was not that unusual.

The heiress is thought to be the first inmate in years to be sent back to jail to serve more of her term.

“Twenty-three days would be considerably more than the average person given her sentence would actually serve,” Stan Goldman, a criminal law professor at Loyola Law School, told the Los Angeles Times.

“The jails are so overcrowded that even though overcrowding is not the reason for her release, it colours every release decision from the jails system.”

If Hilton completes a 23-day sentence, she will have served about the same amount of time as 4,000 inmates charged with assaults since 2002, as well as more than 1,800 charged with burglary, 2,600 charged with domestic violence and nearly 11,000 charged with drug violations, the newspaper reported.

“The only special treatment she got — she got more time in jail,” Mr Baca said in an interview earlier this week.