Robert Downey Jr. Reflects on His Time Behind Bars
In a candid interview on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast, Robert Downey Jr. opened up about what he describes as the “worst thing” that ever happened to him. It was the year he spent behind bars in 1999 after being arrested for a DUI while in possession of cocaine.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that the 58-year-old actor was “over-sentenced by an angry judge” and sent to North Kern State Prison in Delano, California. This came after Downey failed to appear at court-ordered drug tests related to the cocaine possession charge.
Describing his experience, Downey said, “Two weeks later, I’m in a place called Delano, which is a receiving center where they decide where you’re going to go. Arguably the most dangerous place I’ve ever been in my life because nobody is designated. If they’re a level 1, 2, 3, or 4 criminal, [everyone’s there]. You could just feel the evil in the air.”
Robert Downey Jr. describes year in jail, says you could ‘feel the evil in the air’ https://t.co/XJ0YufUDM2
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“It was kind of like just being in a really bad neighborhood, and there was no opportunity there; there was only threats,” he added. “So, yes, everyone is going to take your wallet, so watch it.”
Downey continued, “Walking onto the yard that you’re gonna be doing more than a year on for the first time, the closest thing I can associate it to is being sent to a distant planet where there is no way home until the planets align…”
The Marvel star also shared how he managed to survive the experience. “We are programmed to within a short amount of time be able to adjust to things that are seemingly impossible,” he said. “And for me, there’s worse things that could have happened than being sent to an institution, for sure. However, we can only go by what we know, and I would imagine if I had to guess, that was the worst thing that happened to me.”
In 1999, Downey was sentenced to three years in the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison after missing several court-ordered drug tests. In 1996, he was arrested for driving under the influence, where police found him in possession of heroin, cocaine, crack, and a .357 Magnum, as reported by Fox News.
However, Downey ended up serving only a year, as he was granted early release in 2000 on the condition of posting bail, according to THR.
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