Sometimes a stint in jail can be a smart career move

In what has been described as the most momentous jail release since Nelson Mandela walked to freedom in 1990, America’s heiress celebrity Paris Hilton is due to be released today from the Lynwood Correctional Facility after a harrowing 23 days behind bars. Naturally this world-shattering event will detonate an international media blitz.

People magazine has paid $300,000 for photographs of Paris’s tearful homecoming. There was said to have been brisk competition between the ABC and NBC channels for the first post-prison TV interview, but in the end it will be CNN’s firm but fair Larry King who will do the honours.

Merely by being arrested for drink-driving while already banned, Paris Hilton has taken another momentous step in her career as a celebrity. Not particularly pretty – Donaldson and Eyre’s authoritative Dictionary of National Celebrity describes her as looking like “a shivering whippet dipped in bleach” – and certainly not bright, Paris has proved a mistress of the art of accidental celebrity.

She initially found fame when a video of her having sex with her boyfriend mysteriously and profitably found its way on to the internet. Now, brilliantly, she has managed to be banged up in a Los Angeles jail for a relatively minor offence. Short of actually dying, she could not have made a smarter career move, and the potential for future earnings is virtually unlimited. If Paris and her advisers are not considering at least some of these jail-related projects, they should be:

Cell Block PH: Oh, whoops, someone only happened to have smuggled a camera, with lighting and sound equipment, into Paris’s jail. This shockingly graphic documentary catches Paris’s ordeal at the hands of rampaging female prisoners, driven mad with lust by the star’s innocent young beauty. To Paris’s great dismay, the video soon appears on various pay-per-view websites and, in spite of her earnest pleas to respect her privacy, becomes a huge hit.

Jailbird: Paris Hilton’s exclusive range of prison fashion products. After a team of unscrupulous couturiers and designers imagine what she would look like in prison, Paris reluctantly agrees to give her name to their product lines, explaining that teenage girls buying her exclusive “Jailbird” accessories will begin to understand the dangers of binge-drinking when driving a Mercedes. The range of clothes, make-up and hair products makes jail-chic the look of 2007.

Coldtitz: Putting her searing experience to good use, Paris agrees to star in a series of erotic remakes of the great prison films of the past, each set in all-women penitentiaries policed by male warders. In addition to an updated version of the Second World War epic, there are plans for Midnight Excess, The Great X-Tape and One-Hand Luke.

The Princess in the Penitentiary: It is a golden rule of celebrity that a woman who has been famous for her sexiness will at some point decide she should write a children’s book. Madonna did it a few years back. Jordan has more recently given her name to a book about ponies. Now Paris reaches a new audience with a series of adventures, starring Princess, a lovely teenage girl who, after a terribly miscarriage of justice, finds herself behind bars.

We’ll Always Have Paris: In an attempt to join the party, the LA Police Department publishes its own account of the arrest of Paris Hilton and how they became the most celebrated police force in the world. A foreword is written by the judge who sentenced her. All contributors agree that becoming involved with an accidental celebrity has changed their lives and, out of gratitude, give her a share of the royalties.

When Bad Things Happen to Famous People: A Guide to the Art of Accidental Celebrity. It is time for Paris to give something back to her public. Realising that her greatest talent is to find fame while apparently having a dysfunctional private life, she explains how even the worse things – a misused private tape, a prison sentence – can be a gift from God, providing satisfaction, TV interviews and vast wealth.