Paris Hilton said Saturday she was “learning and growing” from her time behind bars and has decided not to appeal her 45-day jail sentence for probation violation in a reckless driving case.
The hotel heiress was at a maximum-security detention center, where she was believed to have undergone medical and psychiatric evaluations to determine the best jail to keep her in.
“Being in jail is by far the hardest thing I have ever done,” Hilton said in a statement released by her lawyer, Richard A. Hutton. “During the past several days, I have had a lot of time to think and I believe that I am learning and growing from this experience.”
Earlier Saturday, the celebrity Web site TMZ.com reported that Hilton had not eaten or slept since arriving at the medical ward of a Los Angeles jail on Friday and was being given psychoactive drugs, according to law enforcement sources.
The socialite was ordered back to jail on Friday after a judge overruled a sheriff’s decision to place her under house arrest for psychological problems after she had spent three days of an expected three-week term behind bars.
The 26-year-old “has been crying a lot, praying” and is “extremely withdrawn,” TMZ reported.
Hilton was visited by her psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Sophy, for more than two hours on Saturday morning. She was being held in a room by herself with a glass door that is guarded at all times, the report said.
Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff, declined to comment on the report. “Anything to do with her medical stuff I can’t confirm or deny,” he said.
Hilton released a statement Saturday indictating she would not appeal the judge's decision.
"While I greatly appreciate the Sheriff's concern for my health and welfare, I intend to serve my time at L.A. County Jail," the statement said.
Hilton also said she was surprised and troubled by the massive attention her case has received worldwide.
"I would hope going forward that the public and the media will focus on more important things like the men and women serving our country in Iraq and other places around the world," her statement said.
Hilton’s early release by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca sparked national outrage and accusations of preferential treatment because of her celebrity status.
On Saturday, however, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Sauer’s order to return her to custody was sparking controversy, with television pundits and others debating whether he had overstepped his bounds in overruling Baca.
The sheriff later defended his decision, citing jail crowding (although Hilton was in special unit and did not have a cellmate) and what he termed “severe medical problems.”
He said he had learned from one of her doctors that she was not taking a certain medication while previously in custody, and that her “inexplicable deterioration” puzzled county psychiatrists.
“The criminal justice system should not create a football out of Ms. Hilton’s status,” the sheriff said grimly at a press conference.
Hilton trembled and cried quietly throughout the hearing, then broke into loud sobs when the judge ordered her back into custody.
“Mom, Mom. It’s not right,” she wailed as she was led out of the courtroom. Her mother, Kathy Hilton, also sobbed.
Hilton will likely be held at the Twin Towers facility for at least a couple of days before determining what jail she will be held in, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Despite being reincarcerated, she could still be released early. Inmates are given a day off their terms for every four days of good behavior, and her days in home detention counted as custody days. It appeared that Friday would count as her sixth day. Baca indicated she would serve about 18 more days.
Hilton’s path to jail began Sept. 7, when she failed a sobriety test after police saw her weaving down a street in her Mercedes-Benz on what she said was a late-night run to a hamburger stand.
She pleaded no contest to reckless driving and was sentenced to 36 months’ probation, alcohol education and $1,500 in fines.
In the months that followed, she was stopped twice by officers who discovered her driving on a suspended license. The second stop landed her in Sauer’s courtroom, where he sentenced her to jail.