Celebrity mug shots have almost become as commonplace as a Facebook page. First comes the glimpse of a disheveled star, unshaven or makeup a mess, with the surprised look of someone blinded by the limelight. A court hearing may follow, but after many celeb misdemeanors, a short stint in jail falls out of consciousness as fast as one of Kim Kardashian’s mindless tweets.
Then again, Lindsay Lohan did cause quite the ruckus this month when she was taken to an L.A. County jail and released not even five hours later due to overcrowding. But where do other well-to-do offenders end up serving time? Over the last year and a half, some 100 of them have paid their debt to society in Beverly Hills – at a rate of $110 a day.
The Beverly Hills Police Jail is just one of a dozen or so facilities in Southern California which offer a Pay-to-Stay program, where inmates are charged around $45-$175 a day to serve their sentence in a “safe, clean, and secure environment,” as it’s called on the City of Beverly Hills website. 90210’s paying prisoners are entitled to their own cell, in a more spacious wing separated from the general population, and have access to a full kitchen and a dayroom with a television and a telephone. But those planning to catch up on business emails while spending a few days in the slammer are out of luck: no laptops or smartphones allowed.
That’s not to say the Beverly Hills PD isn’t flexible. According to Lieutenant Mark Rosen, the department’s public information officer, the program offers three types of incarcerated accommodation. "Straight Time" is the typical 24/7 sentence; "Work Furlough" gives career-minded offenders the option of going to the office during the day and coming home to their cell at night; and "Weekends" speaks for itself.
As cozy as it may sound, not just anyone is eligible. Only sentences for misdemeanors qualify, and even if someone convicted meets all the requirements, the presiding judge can always deny the request depending on the particulars of the case. “We have had celebrities in custody,” says Lieutenant Rosen, “however celebrity status is not a factor that is considered when determining if a person is qualified for the program.” The Beverly Hills PD additionally requires that applicants have no history of violent crime or drug and alcohol dependency. So the most memorable celebrity mugs probably won’t find their way into this Pay-to-Stay jail anytime soon.
By mail.com Editor Will Cade