The parents of Paris Hilton did not have to wait long to visit their daughter Tuesday, breezing past people standing in line for hours to see loved ones and raising more questions of whether the hotel heiress was receiving special treatment.
The visit came shortly after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ordered Sheriff Lee Baca to respond by next week to allegations of favoritism for reassigning Hilton to house arrest after she was sent to jail for violating probation. At the time, Baca cited an undisclosed medical condition.
The 26-year-old celebutante was later ordered back to jail. She was sent to the medical ward of a downtown jail, where sheriff's officials said Tuesday it costs $1,109.78 (euro832) a day to house a female inmate compared to $99.64 (euro75) a day in the general population.
At the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, Alvina Floyd waited more than four hours to visit her fiance. It normally takes two, and Floyd, 20, blamed the Hiltons for the delay.
"I have to be at work later," she said. "I can't wait here all day."
Shatani Alverson, 23, said she was hustled out of the visiting room moments after her husband walked in because of the Hiltons. She was told to come back after lunch.
Steve Whitmore, a sheriff's spokesman, deflected criticism about the Hiltons' visit. He said it was routine for high-profile inmates to receive visitors during lunch, a time when the visiting room is normally cleared out and closed.
County Supervisor Don Knabe said he and his colleagues had received many angry e-mails from people who believed Baca was treating the heiress better than other sick and mentally ill inmates.
"If he would have dealt with this issue on an overcrowding basis, we would be on much better ground than a health assessment," Knabe said.
The sheriff, who was traveling to Istanbul for an anti-terrorism conference, did not attend Tuesday's board meeting.
In the past five years, the Sheriff's Department has released more than 200,000 inmates after serving just a fraction of their sentences because there was no space, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Some prisoners who were released early committed murders and other serious crimes when they otherwise have remained locked up, the report said.
Mary Tiedeman, who regularly visits the jails as a monitor for the ACLU, said the area where Hilton was being housed was usually reserved for high-security inmates or those worse off than Hilton has appeared.
"I don't know what her health issue is, but you have got to have a pretty intense medical or mental health problem to be in that part of the jail," she said.
After her visit, Kathy Hilton said her daughter wants "just to do her time and get on." She added her daughter has not had much sleep.
When asked if Paris Hilton was having nightmares, her mother said: "We all have nightmares."