What Paris in Jail Says About the Justice System

How we punish reveals what--and whom--we value

If prison's purpose is to punish, protect and deter, the journeys of Paris Hilton and Genarlow Wilson leave you wondering whether Justice, far from being blind, needs her vision checked. The reckless white heiress was all but impossible to lock up; the vindicated black honor student is impossible to set free.

We know Paris' story all too well: celebutante on probation for drunk driving is caught going twice the speed limit with no headlights and a suspended license; sentenced to 45 days, she's released after three by a softhearted--or perhaps lightheaded--sheriff, only to be ordered back by an irate judge amid...

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