Hollywood bad-girl, Lindsay Lohan, was released from jail Monday, August 2 after serving only 13 days of her original 90-day sentence for violating the terms of her probation, stemming from two DUI arrests back in 2007. When news broke about Lohan’s shortened sentence, internet chatter erupted into a (predictable) chorus of “special treatment” for celebrities.
While the public outcry insistantly portrays this as a case of a celebrity getting off easy, Lohan’s scenario is quite the opposite. The only “celebrity justice” she received was a stiffer sentence! According to NBC’s chief legal analyst, if she were anyone else, she’d be serving even less time. “The question is does the punishment fit the crime? Ninety days for this type of crime is a big deal…Lindsay Lohan is getting a very, very tough sentence.”
Good behavior (which is achieved simply by maintaining the rules of the jail) automatically reduced Lohan’s sentence down to 51 days. Acording to the L.A. Times, most inmates serve–at most–25 percent of their actual sentence, which is consistent with the 13 days served by Lohan. In addition we must keep in mind that Lohan’s DUI violations were in 2007. That means she spent almost three years on probation with (virtually) no legal troubles!
It’s also important to note that upon release from jail, Lohan will have to serve 90 days of in-patient rehab. For public safety reasons, it’s more productive to treat Lohan’s alcohol addiction with rehab, rather than keeping her locked up behind bars, just to have her re-offend shortly upon release.
While we may not have a bevy of celebrities like they do in Hollywood, Minnesotans who are charged with drunk driving often have reduced sentences similar or less than Lohan’s. Often DWI offenders in this state can be diverted from prison, initially and permanently, so long as they do not violation the conditions of their probation. Generally it makes more sense for DWI offenders to be on probation where the court can impose requirements that the offender seeks treatment and does not commit any similar violations and holding the threat of prison time as a motivational tactic.