In today's society, the idea of jail is not so taboo anymore. More and more people are incarcerated every single day, and the legal system is always busy. Celebrities on the other hand have broken the law and have cheated the system as we know it. When it comes to the law, celebrities should be treated like the average person. When someone in the spotlight fails to abide by the law they should face equal punishment too as any other individual should. Many people disagree with the way the legal system treats people in the spotlight. Many of them are punished unfairly. The Marshall project took place in California and is a part of the pay-to-stay program. They allow criminals to pay a price to bunk up in a comfortable jail cell for the night or however long they choose to stay. Sgt. Steve Bowles runs Seal Beach's pay-to-stay jail. “We bend over backward to make sure their basic needs are met. But they have to remember, it's still a jail, we're just another option ... it's not the Four Seasons by any means” says Bowles (Santo, Kim, Flagg). This alternative may sound nice to the average person, but luxury always comes with a price.
The most expensive recorded stay was $72,050, keeping in mind that the average stay for a night is $1,756. Pay-to-stay programs house serious criminals convicted of dangerous crimes. 4.5% of their participants have been convicted of injurious or sex crimes (Santo, Kim, Flagg). This project is showing criminals that jail can still be a wonderful place almost making the punishment of deeming prison useless. Most celebrities cheat the legal system as we know it. “Probation, $365, and five days of community service were given to Chris Brown for smashing Rihanna's face” (Peyser). Lawmakers are making it easier and easier for stars to get away with anything and leave with little to no punishment. Celebrities don’t always ask to be in the spotlight, most of them are caught by chance. Some people argue that celebrities are always being watched and don’t necessarily have a choice of punishment for their actions.
Many look up to them as role models and influencers. The question that keeps heads turning is, should we really be looking up to them? People argue that parents should be their child's only role models and that the job of celebrities is not to parent your kids. Others argue that many have chosen the path of fame and now have a duty to fulfill in showing right from wrong. A teacher in North Star was asked to answer a question of the week in her town. The question asked, “Should celebrities be considered role models or heroes?” Her response is as follows, “First, one must realize that no one “signs up” to be a hero or role model. Miley Cyrus did not sign her recording contract to be a role model to young girls, she signed it to make music. Those who point fingers and say she is a “bad role model” or “bad influence” on their children clearly do not realize that it is not a celebrity’s job to show some random child the way to success.” Says Walker (Question of the Week: Should Celebrities Be Considered Role Models Or Heros?). One of the most famous cases in the world of celebrities is the OJ Simpson trial. In 1985 OJ Simpson, a former NFL all-star was convicted of killing his ex-wife, and her lover. He was found innocent in this case involving his ex-wife. He then committed an armed robbery and was found guilty. He was originally sentenced to 33 years in prison. His sentence was shortened to 9 years in prison with parole. Simpson to this day is still in the NFL Hall of Fame and continues to show how once famous, you are always innocent in the eyes of the people.
A regular person with no social status would have more than likely been sentenced to life or would be forced to serve full jail time. Malcolm LaVergne is Simpson's lawyer and has been on his case since the beginning. “I can tell from his voice on the phone… that he’s looking forward to freedom and hugging his family on the outside,” says LaVergne (Boren). Simpson was released after 9 years in prison and fled to Florida. Returning back to normal wouldn't have been easy for him. The whole world knew about his case and what he had done proven innocent or not, on top of 12 attempted armed robberies. His every move was being watched, not only by the parole officer but by the world as well (Boren). Celebrities who have been put in to jail usually don’t sit there very long. If you are famous and do need up sitting in jail, it's definitely a luxury compared to other inmates. “Once they are in jail, celebrities usually get an entire cell to themselves, which is unusual given the overcrowded nature of California jails. That isolation, plus a star's fame—combine to make it much easier to get medical attention while in prison.” Says Peter Berlin ( Gornstein).
Berlin is a defense attorney in criminal defense and represents criminals mostly in white-collar crimes. Celebrities are not treated like the average person in jail. they are generally given a cell to themselves. Some celebrities are even given a hospital bed and a personal attendant if you will. Another unfair advantage is the length of their stay. For example, “Nicole Richie was sentenced to 96 hours in connection with a DUI, she did even less than 10 percent of that sentence; she was out in 82 minutes” (Gorenstein). Statistics show that on average California inmates serve about ten percent of their sentence due to overcrowding, making celebrities the first to go. Celebrities can get away with just about anything as long as they have the press on their side. Alec Baldwin was accused of yelling anti-gay slurs at a photographer, he was confronted by a woman passing by. Oman remains unnamed and was locked up for months for harassment.