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Kiefer Sutherland was released from Glendale jail early Monday after serving 48 days on a drunken driving charge, police said.
The actor sneaked out the back door and into a waiting car at 12:05 a.m. to avoid a growing crowd of media positioned by the jail’s main entrance, Glendale police Officer John Balian said.
“It was a joint decision between him and our police department personnel that it would be better if he exited through the back,” Balian said.
Sutherland spent most of his jail sentence by himself, interacting with fellow prisoners only when he was on the way to the laundry room where he worked cleaning sheets, pillowcases and blankets, Balian said.
The star of Fox television’s “24” also had a cell to himself and ate alone, he said.
Officials rejected several requests from strangers who asked to visit Sutherland during his sentence.
“A lot of people came in to see him off the street: nutritionists, psychics, just random people who thought they could walk up and see him,” Balian said. “That just wasn’t going to happen.”
Prisoners are only allowed to receive visitors already named on a list, he said.
Sutherland pleaded no contest in October to driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of 0.08%. He was sentenced to 30 days, as well as 18 days for violating probation stemming from a 2004 drunken-driving arrest.
After entering his plea last fall, Sutherland issued a statement saying he was “very disappointed in myself for the poor judgment I exhibited recently, and I’m deeply sorry for the disappointment and distress this has caused my family, friends and co-workers.”
He was granted a request to serve his time in suburban Glendale’s city jail, rather than in the overcrowded downtown Los Angeles County jail. Glendale jail has an average prisoner population of about 30, Balian said.
Glendale is about eight miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
The trade-off was that Sutherland could not shave any time off his sentence for good behavior or early release because of overcrowding.
The actor must also serve five years probation and complete an 18-month alcohol education program and attend weekly therapy sessions for six months.
Balian called Sutherland a model prisoner who has now paid his dues.
“He was very cooperative, humble, didn’t give us any problems. He never wanted any preferential treatment,” Balian said. “Forty-eight days is a long time, but as far as we are concerned, he paid his debt to society.”
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