Prison officials are so worried about the psychological well-being of Conrad Hilton, Paris’ deeply troubled little brother, that they have dressed him in a special anti-suicide smock. Essentially it’s a long tunic-like garment that fastens with velcro. It is usually worn without any underwear or clothing underneath, which may be partially to blame for Hilton’s distress. Unlike traditional prison clothes, the so-called safety smock is designed in such a way that it is extremely hard to use for hanging, choking, or inflicting harm on one’s self.
The garment was on display as Hilton engaged in apoplectic outbursts in Los Angeles courtrooms over the last two days. He had been in jail for several days after being arrested for violating a restraining order from his ex-girlfriend and stealing her professional poker player father’s Bentley.
(Conrad’s ex-girlfriend, Hunter Salomon, is the daughter of Rick Salomon who starred with Conrad’s sister Paris in the heiress’ notorious, triple X rated sex tape)
One of OJ Simpson’s famous “Dream Team” attorneys, Robert Shapiro, initially was the calm voice of Hilton’s defense. It’s safe to say Mr. Shapiro is not often in court for ordinary cases involving larceny and violations of a restraining order, which are the charges against Hilton. Mr. Hilton’s mental health is also of course at issue, though at times he seems lucid as well as obnoxious. It is not known if Mr. Shapiro was uncomfortable with another day of defending a client who stood behind him making homophobic slurs, crinkling his face, and telling the judge he does “Not “F— hookers.”
On day two of the trial, another much younger female attorney argued Mr. Hilton’s case, and had to deal with similar erratic behavior from her client.
“Your honor, I was also informed of Mr. Hilton’s behavior at the time that he was arrested and he was incredibly combative and incredibly profane to the arresting officers,” said the prosecutor in the case.
“Conrad then leaned in before the woman even listed a specific behavior exhibited by the young man the night of the arrest ready to react, and opened his mouth wide when she said he was combative before swearing when she mentioned the use of ‘profane’ language.
‘I was f***ing assaulted , mouthed Conrad while looking at the lawyer.
When she then turned around to quiet him by placing a finger to her lips as if he were a child, Conrad stated: ‘I’m sorry, but that’s obscene.’
Anti-suicide smocks are not uncommon in prisons. A company called Ferguson Safety Products, which makes the smocks pictured below, “says on its website that more than 1,000 prisons in the U.S. use them.
Ferguson makes anti-suicide mattresses and even has a sanitary belt, or anti-suicide tampon, developed specifically for suicidal females that “produces a gagging reflex if an inmate attempts to choke herself.” The company also claims the anti-suicide tampon “can not be twisted into a cord. They are sold in cases of ten.
Writing about the anti-suicide clothing a few years ago, Boston Magazine said “the smocks, pun intended, seem like overkill.” The American Civil Liberties Union has serious concerns about these sorts of isolation tools…because of the humiliation of being barefoot, without underwear and, worse, to also sleep without sheets on an anti-suicide mattress as long as a prisoner is deemed at risk.”
Hilton has since been released on bail — but he’s headed to Texas for treatment. The courts have put him under the care of his father and allowed him to enter a psychiatric facility called the Menninger clinic in Houston for evaluation. The clinic calls itself, “one of the nation’s leading inpatient psychiatric hospitals, dedicated to treating individuals with complex mental illness, including severe mood, personality, anxiety and addictive disorders.”