Sheriff’s Officials: Paris Hilton Will Probably Be Housed Alone

Sheriff Lee Baca today laid down the law both to Paris Hilton and the paparazzi who are expected to stake out her stay, scheduled to begin Tuesday at a county jail in Lynwood.

Baca said deputies and other employees at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood have been told to treat the 26-year-old heiress like any other inmate.

But even in a department used to housing celebrities, Baca said Hilton was “in a class by herself,” and said officials have taken aggressive steps that he hopes will prevent cameras from being smuggled into the jail — which some photo agencies have said is a possibility because of the price a shot of Hilton in jail would bring.

Hilton will not be allowed to give TV interviews, he said.

“Paying a debt to society should not be an element of her celebrity,” Baca said. “Her occupation is publicity, but no one should profit in jail.”

Some Hollywood photo agencies expect Hilton’s jail sentence to be perhaps the major “get” over the next few weeks.

“The reality is why don’t they just let her walk down the concrete carpet,” said Frank Griffin, co-owner of the Bauer-Griffin paparazzi agency. “This is going to be turned into an event like the Oscars.”

Judge Michael T. Sauer sentenced Hilton last month to 45 days in county jail for violating the terms of her probation on a drunk driving plea after repeatedly driving her car while her license was suspended.

Because of state rules allowing shorter sentences for good behavior, sheriff’s officials said she will serve about 23 days behind bars.

Baca said it is unclear whether Hilton will surrender at Sauer’s court or report straight to jail. He said authorities will not allow her to “be seen in handcuffs … or in the back of a police car, forlorn and in handcuffs.”

Once there, Hilton would go through the normal intake process, undergoing an interview by jail staff and evaluations for any medical and other needs, he said.

Hilton will be kept away from the general population of the jail, which houses about 2,200 women.

Despite tabloid stories suggesting Hilton had a preselected cellmate, Baca said no decision has been made about whether Hilton will share her 10 by 7 cell with anyone.

Sheriff’s officials have told The Times that barring any unforseen crowding, Hilton is likely to be housed alone.

Baca said Hilton will “experience her incarceration as all other women will experience it.”

“She won’t get better food, she won’t get different lockup time or a different environment,” he said.

Even with a system that handled the likes of O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake and other high profile inmates, Baca called Hilton — and the circus atmosphere surrounding her — “the most unusual ever in the history of the department.”

Still, the message will be clear.

“Jails are not circuses and not places where ‘fun’ is the priority,” Baca said. “Jail should be a corrective learning experience.”

Posted: June 1st, 2007
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