Usually that is a bad thing because the prisoner is physically confined and deprived of a range of personal freedoms. However, when you are a celebrity going to jail may not necessarily be a bad thing. Let's see how some star convicts are faring.
3. Empress in court - Liu Xiaoqing, 55
Jail time: 422 days - June 2002 to August 2003 - for evading 14.6 million yuan in taxes since 1996. Released after paying undisclosed amount of bail.
Pre-prison: This Sichuan-born actress ruled big screens as Qing Empress Dowager Cixi. Off screen, her empire of real estate and cosmetic products made her one of the richest women in CHina. She was also one of the first starts in China to file for divorce, in her case from first husband, actor, Wang Li, in 1976. Her second divorce from actor Chen Guoyun was messier - she has an affair with actor, Jiang Wen.
Post-prison: Barely month after her release, news broke that she secured a role a period film, but it was never made.
2. Jailhouse Keeper - Martha Stewart, 65
Jail time: Five months - October 2004 to March 2005 - for obstruction of justice and charges related to insider trading.
Pre-prison: America's most powerful lifestyle guru. Rising stock value of her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, made her a billionaire. Named the third most powerful woman in the United States in 2001 by the Ladies Home Journal.
Post-prison: Notoriety gained her a reality TV show called The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Now hosts a lifestyle show. Banned from serving as a director of a public company for five years but she recovered her previous activities. Credibility restored due to her-get-over-it spirit. Stock value for her company rose.
Prison as a career move: Not recommended. So far, there has not been a lifestyle magazine called Good Jail house-keeping.
What she may have learnt: The curtains in her cells did not always match the napkins in the prison canteen.
1. Barbie in Jail - Paris Hilton, 26
Jail time: 23 days - starting from Tuesday - for violating her probation for a number of offences which included drink drinking. She was sentenced to 45 days but her time was halved due to "good behaviour" for, among other things, showing up at her last court hearing. She will be separated from other inmates in special housing unit for high-profile detainees.
Pre-prison: Most infamous "famous for being famous" heirhead. Party girl, wannabe singer-actress, sex video star. Appealed vigorously against conviction. An online petition was set up to stop her from going to the slammer. She has since stopped appealing.
Post-prison: Just a blip in her social life: No late nights, tequilas or SMSes for about two weeks.
Prison as a career move: Not recommended. What is the world supposed to do without her for 23 days?
What she may learn: Her warden's arm may be bigger than her pal Nicole Richie.
This post was written by Oswald-Ong Thomas from Off the Cuff. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!