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Experts: Will jail change Paris?

What a difference a day makes.Paris Hilton was dragged kicking and screaming Friday out of a Los Angeles courtroom and cried for her mother after a judge reversed the county sheriff and ordered the heiress to the hotel empire to serve the remainder of her 45-day sentence for violating her probation for driving while her license was suspended for driving drunk.But just a day later, one of her attor
/ Source: TODAY contributor

What a difference a day makes.



Paris Hilton was dragged kicking and screaming Friday out of a Los Angeles courtroom and cried for her mother after a judge reversed the county sheriff and ordered the heiress to the hotel empire to serve the remainder of her 45-day sentence for violating her probation for driving while her license was suspended for driving drunk.



But just a day later, one of her attorneys released a statement in which Hilton claimed to be “learning and growing” from the experience and would serve her stint quietly.

Is she for real?



TODAY host Meredith Vieira put that question to two experts on Monday.



“Yes or no, do you think you are going to see a changed Paris Hilton after 45 days or less in jail?” Vieira asked the two regular guests, former prosecutor Jeanine Pirro and psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow.

“I hope so,” said Pirro, a county judge and former Westchester County (N.Y.) District Attorney.



“No, it’s too short a time,” said Ablow, an author and host of his own television talk show.



In living rooms and coffee shops across the U.S., Americans discussed Paris Hilton’s exploits, especially after almost non-stop coverage on cable TV news programs of her bizarre appearance before Judge Michael Sauer on Friday.

The traffic court jurist ordered Hilton brought before him a day after Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca sent the 26-year-old to her home in the Hollywood hills with a monitoring device because she reportedly was close to having a nervous breakdown after just three days in jail.

Although some applauded Baca’s move as a measure to save space for violent offenders in the jails he runs, others criticized his decision to reassign Hilton to “home confinement” as just more evidence of celebrity justice where laws do not apply to the rich and famous.

“Every person in prison suffers from depression,” Pirro said. “Come on. It’s the very essence of being depressed. But at the same time, had he said the jail was over-crowed and released her on those grounds, I don’t that would have flown. She was in a cell by herself without a bunk mate.”



Pirro said Sauer handled the situation appropriately, in her view.



Justice interrupted

“What we saw was justice interrupted, and then back on track again,” she said. “What this judge did, I think reinforced people’s confidence in the justice system, that there is truth in sentencing.”



Ablow speculated that Hilton was having trouble being in solitary confinement, which was ordered because of her celebrity status. People like Hilton who are constantly being told how beautiful and important they are sometimes cannot be alone, he said.



“Solitary confinement, that’s where they punish people. Nobody wants to go there,” Ablow said. “If you are used to all of the feedback to sustain you, they should have thought twice about that and said, ‘Is she prepared just to be alone with herself?’”

According to Hilton’s statement, she is — at least for now.

So far, it appears that Hilton is keeping her vow to take her medicine quietly.

There have been no reports of any incidents at the prison hospital she was transferred to after Friday’s court appearance.

‘Trying to cope’

“It’s a jail, but it’s like a hospital. She has her own room. She has a guard at that door,” reports J.D. Heyman, senior editor of People magazine. “It’s a small, little room. She’s pretty much by herself. People tell us she’s doing as well as can be expected.”



Heyman added, “She is holding firm and trying to cope.”

“Today, I told my attorneys not to appeal the judge’s decision,” Hilton said in the statement released Saturday. “While I greatly appreciate the sheriff’s concern for my health and welfare, I intend to serve my time at L.A. County Jail.”



If you thought Friday was a free for all, stayed tuned for Hilton’s release sometime next month.