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Jail Pushed Downey To Change Life

September 15, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Though he describes his first days in prison as awful, Robert Downey Jr. says the experience has motivated him to change his life.

``I would have been the first to say it’s unconstitutional, to put drug abusers in jail or prison. Well, it’s unconstitutional to be a human being and screw your life up that way,″ the 35-year-old actor says in the October issue of Details magazine. ``I wouldn’t wish my experience on an enemy. But there was value in it.″

Downey was jailed in June 1999 after he admitted during a probation hearing that he missed scheduled drug tests. He was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation but gained early release last month.

Downey then moved into Walden House, a facility he had previously lived in while trying to end his drug problem.

This fall, he will have a recurring role on the Fox series ``Ally McBeal,″ playing a mysterious stranger who seems able to connect with the complicated Ally, played by Calista Flockhart.

``I’m proud of the way I’ve conducted myself since my incarceration and proud of the choices I’ve made since I’ve been released,″ Downey said.

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