Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What Lindsay Lohan Can Teach America About Jail

Kevork Djansezian/Getty
After all the celebrity gossip, courtroom drama, and E! television updates, Lindsay Lohan did today what many non-celebs have done to much less fanfare:  she reported to court, was put in handcuffs, and went to jail.

This People headline set the mood:  "Lindsay Lohan is 'Scared but Resolute.'

People also reported on some of the details of jail time that rarely hit the press and are barely thought of by those who haven't been inside:  no internet access, generic brand deoderant, personal property confiscated, 22 hours a day in a 12-by-8 cell.  Or, put in blunter terms:  "Lindsay Lohan's Jail Hell:  No Smoking, Tweeting, or Hair Extensions."

In all seriousness, 90 days may not sound like much to someone who's never been in jail or prison. And, yes, Ms. Lohan will probably only actually be in jail for 14 to 30 days, because of jail overcrowding.  Some may think LiLo got off easy.  But her story is a reminder that every year, jail becomes scarily real for millions of Americans, and it's not pleasant. 

Here in America, we've turned complaining about "slaps on the wrist" into an art form.  Sentences have gotten longer and longer, and yet we still clamor for people to be given more time.  I wonder if we haven't lost touch with what that time really means -- namely, because so many of us have never done any time at all.

I don't know about you, but 14 to 30 days of my life are awfully valuable.  Maybe LiLo's case can teach Americans to think a little harder about what "hard time" means. 

-- Stowe

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

For some crimes, long sentences should be applied. Crimes like murder, violent assaults, etc.
Furthermore, lets not kid ourselves, Lohan is getting a slap on the wrist.