Paris Hilton Released From Jail

'This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done,' celeb says in statement.

LYNWOOD, California — Paris Hilton was released from jail at around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday (June 26), exiting the Century Regional Detention Facility through a mob of photographers, press and onlookers.

(Watch as the heiress leaves prison into a paparazzi feeding frenzy.)

Hilton — wearing a tight pair of dark jeans, high-heeled shoes, a cropped grey jacket, a white short-sleeved shirt, a braided pony tail and a slight smile — was escorted by a cluster of sheriffs to her parents’ waiting SUV, which had arrived just before midnight. A handful of bystanders cheered as cameras flashed and helicopters buzzed overhead. Hilton walked calmly through the crowd, and then jogged the last few steps as she waved to her mother. By the time Hilton reached the SUV, a horde of cameramen converged on the vehicle, disregarding the barricades that had kept them in place all night.

Paris embraced her mother, Kathy Hilton, through the passenger window before the door was even opened. After a lengthy hug, Paris climbed into the SUV, which was completely surrounded by press and fans. It took a few moments for sheriffs to clear the way for the vehicle to exit, and the crowd followed as it slowly made its way out of the parking lot. Hilton blew kisses and waved to the cameras and fans trailing the vehicle, and exited without comment.

A statement was released in which she said, “This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I have had a lot of time to reflect, and have already learned a bitter, but important lesson from this experience.”

With paparazzi continuing to follow her for miles through the Los Angeles freeway system, Hilton reportedly went to her grandparents’ Benedict Canyon compound after her release.

Shortly after Hilton’s exit, sheriff’s department spokesman Steve Whitmore held an impromptu press conference for the remaining press and bystanders. “She has fulfilled her debt to society and it’s now concluded,” he said.

Kathy and Rick Hilton’s arrival before midnight caused an uproar among the paparazzi and members of the press, who clambered to get a shot of the couple in their SUV. The vehicle made a lap around the parking lot before pulling up to the entrance of the facility. A few inmates and their family members were released in the moments before Hilton’s exit.

The atmosphere was less chaotic than the media storm that surrounded Hilton’s last courthouse appearance, due in part to the barricades and police tape that kept press and public corralled to the sidewalk. Also, with only one entrance and exit, sheriffs were able to keep the crowd confined to one area, instead of the pockets of media and paparazzi that surrounded the Los Angeles Superior Court building when the hotel heiress was ordered back into custody on June 8 (see “Paris Hilton Ordered Back To Jail; Won’t Appeal” ).

Hilton initially served three days at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood. She was admitted to the facility to begin serving her sentence for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case directly after attending the MTV Movie Awards on June 3 (see “Paris Hilton Turns Herself In To Authorities” and “Paris Hilton Talks About Jail Before Turning Herself In: ‘I’m Obviously A Little Scared’ “ ).

One fan on hand for Tuesday morning’s frenzy was Christine Florence. “I’m really excited. I got to shake her hand — wow, this was more than I expected! I just was hoping to get a glimpse of her but I actually got to shake her hand and she actually took a gift from me,” said Florence, who had waited throughout the evening to give Hilton a bone-shaped keychain for her dog, Tinkerbell.

Hilton served 23 days of her 45 day sentence at the all-women’s facility, earning an early release due to good behavior. Her probation remains in effect until March 2009. She is scheduled to give her first post-jail interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live” on Wednesday.