Published Friday, Dec. 19, 2008 | 5:49 p.m.
Updated Friday, Dec. 19, 2008 | 6:41 p.m.
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O.J. Simpson has been sent to lock-up in Lovelock.
The former football star has been transferred to the Lovelock Correctional Center in Northern Nevada to serve his sentence of 9-33 years for robbery in Las Vegas.
“We’re not expecting him to cause any problems,” said Suzanne Pardee, public information officer for the state Department of Corrections, which announced his transfer this afternoon.
The Heisman Trophy winner was convicted on a dozen counts on Oct. 3, including robbery, kidnapping assault with a deadly weapon, following a run-in with two memorabilia dealers in a Palace Station hotel room in September 2007.
His lawyers are currently appealing the conviction to the Nevada Supreme Court, but it may be a year after filing of the briefs by lawyers that the court makes a decision.
Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison with no chance of parole for at least nine years on Dec 5. His co-accused, Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, received a lesser sentence of 27 years with possible parole after 7 1/2 years, while Simpson’s four other accomplices received probation.
Simpson, who was sent on Dec. 9 to High Desert State Prison in Southern Nevada, has completed his orientation session there, undergoing psychological and medical tests. The 61-year-old was reported to be a model prisoner while in the Clark County Regional Justice Center.
He was transfered on Thursday to Lovelock, which is located 90 miles northeast of Reno and approximately 430 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Howard Skolnik, director of the state Department of Corrections, said the evaluation showed Simpson did not have to go to the high security prison in Ely where death row inmates are housed.
Lovelock is a medium security prison that is identified as a holding place for sex offenders but Skolnik said that is only part of the population.
Simpson will continue in “close custody.” Skolnik said it was standard for inmates to be locked down initially for all but exercise. But then he will be released into the general population.
Skolnik said Lovelock is a newer prison with more technology. He said it can be controlled better. The yard can be divided in half so there are two separate prisons.
Pardee said Simpson will get the same job opportunities “no better, no worse than other prisoners.”
She said Simpson and all the other inmates get three meals a day. He will have access to mail and limited phone privileges. He will be allowed one hour of exercise every day.
Simpson may also request to have visitors but it takes about three months to do background checks on those who are to visit him.
Pardee said once an inmate is classified into the general population at Lovelock, he becomes eligible for additional privileges including the use of the exercise facility and less restrictive phone privileges.
Simpson will also be eligible to work following orientation, in exchange for “good time credits” or a meager wage. Though Simpson’s most recent work experience includes sports commentating and promoting Hertz rental cars, the football star’s future employment options are far less glamorous.
Typical jobs include yard labor, porter and culinary duty. Inmates who work get good time credits and in some cases receive a small monthly income.
Simpson’s attorneys, Gabriel Grasso, and Yale Galanter, originally expected their client would serve his term in Indian Springs, at either the High Desert State Prison or Southern Desert Correctional Center.
Simpson’s transfer to Lovelock means his legal team will have to travel considerably farther – 397 miles further, to be exact – to see their client.
Still, Grasso previously indicated that he won’t worry too much about his client’s safety, regardless of where he serves his term.
“When (Simpson) does meet people in jail, when he does have to interact with people, they’re going to treat him well because he treats them well,” Grasso said. “He’s very adaptable,” Galanter added, “(But) O.J. Simpson certainly carries with him some unique (problems) and we fully expect the officials in Nevada to … make sure that his safety is assured.”