Paris Hilton begins jail term a day early
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - From the camera flashes on the red carpet of a Hollywood awards show to the walls of a jail cell -- what a difference a day makes when you're Paris Hilton.
The 26-year-old heiress, a symbol of privilege and American celebrity culture, was booked into a Los Angeles County jail early on Monday, a day ahead of her court-ordered deadline, to begin serving a three-week sentence for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.
She surrendered to authorities in downtown Los Angeles hours after making a surprise appearance at the MTV Movie Awards, and was transferred to the Century Regional Detention Facility in nearby Lynwood, the county sheriff's department said.
Once there, she was fingerprinted, photographed and issued an ID wristband, orange-colored jail clothing and toiletries, said sheriff's department Sgt. Diane Hecht in a statement.
Hecht said the booking for Hilton, whose great-grandfather Conrad Hilton started the global Hilton Hotel empire, was completed by about 1 a.m. PDT (4 a.m. EDT/0800 GMT) on Monday.
Her booking photo showed her dressed in a white V-neck top, wearing eye makeup and lip gloss with a slight smile, her blond hair swept to one side over her right shoulder.
Sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore described her as "cooperative," "calm" and "focused" during booking.
"This is an important point in my life, and I need to take responsibility for my actions," Hilton said in a statement issued by her lawyer. "Although I am scared, I am ready to begin my jail sentence."
Her lawyer, Richard Hutton, said after a jailhouse visit with Hilton on Monday that she "is doing well" and that she intended to use her time to reflect on her life and decide how she can "make the world a better place."
Hecht said Hilton will be kept alone in her cell, an enclosure 8 feet wide, 12 feet deep and 8 feet high, equipped with two bunks, a sink, a small table, a slit window and a metal toilet.
Whitmore has said Hilton would be treated like any other prisoner at the jail, which houses roughly 2,200 women. But she has been segregated from the general population in a "special-needs" unit designed for high-profile inmates.
The star of reality TV's "The Simple Life" will be confined to quarters 23 hours a day, with an hour each day outside her cell to stretch her legs, take a shower, use the telephone or watch television in a jailhouse day room.
It's a far cry from Hilton's last day of freedom, during which she attended the MTV Movie Awards in a black, strapless gown, posing on a red carpet before throngs of photographers.
Hilton was arrested for drunken driving in September, and in January she pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of alcohol-related reckless driving. She was sentenced to three years' probation and had her license suspended.
But the heiress was caught driving in February. A traffic court judge ruled on May 4 that Hilton's latest offense was a probation violation and sentenced her to 45 days in jail.
Sheriff's officials said they expected her to complete her term in 23 days under state guidelines that give most inmates a day's credit against their sentence for each day they serve with good behavior.
Hutton said the judge singled out Hilton for excessively stiff punishment because of her celebrity.
(additional reporting by Michelle Emard)