Watching Lindsay Lohan filter in and out of court for various offenses weighs heavily on my mind, but not for the reasons you might think. Although I could care less about Lohan per se, watching the court continuously give the troubled actress one chance after another makes me wonder how things would be different if Lindsay Lohan were black, poor, and most certainly not a celebrity.
Over the past four years, Lohan has had more than a few run-ins with the law. Cnn’s The Marque Blog has kept a running tab:
- January 2007: Lindsay checks herself into rehab for the first time
- May 26, 2007: She is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, police also found a small amount of cocaine at the scene
- May 28, 2007: The actress checks herself into rehab, again
- July, 14, 2007: Lohan checks out rehab after only six weeks, celebrates her release with friends at a Las Vegas nightclub
- July 24, 2007: Lohan is pulled over by police early in the morning and arrested on five counts, including driving under the influence of alcohol, driving on a suspended license and possession of narcotics. Lohan checks into rehab hours after the arrest
- August 23, 2007: Lohan is charged with seven misdemeanor counts for two DUI arrests earlier that year. She reaches a plea deal of one day in jail, 10 days of community service and mandatory completion of a drug-treatment program. She is also is placed on probation for 36 months
- November 15, 2007: Lohan serves 84 minutes in a Los Angeles County jail stemming from her DUI arrests. The sheriff says jail overcrowding allowed him to shorten her stay
- October 16, 2009: Lohan shows up late to a probation hearing in Beverly Hills and gets another year of probation added due to failure to complete alcohol-education classes
- June 8, 2010: A Beverly Hills judge issues an arrest warrant for Lohan and orders her to post $200,000 bail after she violates a court order to not consume alcohol while wearing a SCRAM alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet. The warrant is recalled after bail is posted.
- July 6, 2010: Lohan is sentenced to 90 days in jail and 90 days in rehab for violating her probation, she serves less than two weeks.
- February 9, 2011: Lohan is charged with felony grand theft for allegedly stealing a necklace.
- March 10, 2011: Lindsay returns to court and is offered a plea deal for the necklace theft that will involve jail time. She has two weeks to decide if she wants to take the deal or go to trial.
And that was the abridged version. Hmph.
Lindays Lohan’s run-ins with the court have been numerous over the past four years, and yet she has managed to stay out of jail—save for the two weeks she spent locked up for violating her probation. However, many women around the country charged with similar offenses—drugs and/or property crimes—aren’t so lucky.
According to the Institute On Women & Criminal Justice, there are over 200,000 women in prisons and jails around the U.S., and the numbers are growing. Between 1977 and 2007, the female prison population grew twice as fast as the male population (832% for women, 416% for men). Most of the women, nearly two-thirds, are in prison for non-violent offenses such as drugs, property crimes, and theft. Black, Hispanic, and poor women are incarcerated at disproportionate rates, when compared to white women, so it’s no wonder Lindsay Lohan manages to evade a jail cell.
Please don’t get it twisted. I am not advocating Lindsay be locked up simply because thousands of other women—black, brown, and white—are facing harsher punishments than she is. Lohan (and others like her) suffers from drug and alcohol addiction and is most likely better off getting help for her addition, not locked up. But what I am wondering, however, is why don’t other women—everyday sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunties—get the same amount of chances as Lohan?
If our justice system is blind, why does it seem to be rigged for women like Lindsay Lohan, but not for the sisters we encounter every day?
What do you think, Clutchettes and Gents? What would happen if Lindsay Lohan were black?