If Rehab Won't Change Lindsay Lohan, Then What Will?

During her latest court appearance, the troubled actress accepted a plea deal that sends her to rehab instead of jail -- but is the sentence enough for her to change?

Lindsay Lohan will be headed to rehab, not jail, as punishment for her latest criminal offenses. During a court hearing on Monday, Lohan's lawyer negotiated a deal that has the actress pleading guilty to probation violation, reckless driving and lying to a police officer. (The charges are connected to her June 2012 car crash.) In exchange, Lohan will serve her 90 days of jail time in a locked-down rehab facility, after which she'll be in therapy for 18 months and on probation for two more years. She's not exactly getting off scot-free, but even so: Is this sentence harsh enough to scare Lindsay straight? Is anything?

There's no question that Lohan, 26, desperately needs an extended stay in rehab. Over and over, her troubles seem to come back to drinking and drug use, or the type of erratic behavior associated with these things. In that respect, this sentence is a move in the right direction.

The problem is that we've been down this road before. Lindsay gets in trouble, she negotiates a plea deal (or spends a few days in jail), and she does okay for a while. And then, before you know it, she's missing court dates and getting into nightclub fights, and we're right back where we started. So far, none of the sentences (house arrest, prison, community service, rehab) have convinced Lindsay to permanently fix what's wrong with her life. Interestingly, two weeks before taking this latest plea bargain, she rejected a very similar one because she didn't want to plead guilty. Even now, we wonder if Lindsay understands that she actually is guilty.

If only the judge were allowed to do some creative sentencing! We'd love to see Lindsay banned from nightclubs, for starters. Better yet, how about taking her away from Hollywood for a while? If she were banished to some small town or foreign land (say, Siberia) out of the spotlight, she might realize there are other ways to live than the destructive one she's chosen. Or maybe she should be sentenced to law school, and ordered to defend herself in court from now on. (That would keep her on her toes!) In a perfect world, the court could appoint her new friends (any volunteers?), or a new hobby (scrapbooking? gourmet cooking?), or -- dare we say it? -- new parents.

In the real world, though, the court's power is limited. The judge can't even enforce a full jail sentence for Lohan, thanks to California's prison overcrowding problem. It's really up to Lindsay to make those big changes in her life. And we all know how that's going so far.

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