O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada on July 20, 2017. Simpson is serving a nine to 33 year prison term for a 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping conviction Pool photo by Jason Bean/UPI | License Photo
July 22 (UPI) -- O.J. Simpson was placed in protective custody for the months leading to his release from prison after being granted parole.
Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Keast told CNN Simpson was moved out of the general inmate population Friday to special housing away from the other inmates at the Lovelock Correctional Center for his own safety after Thursday's parole hearing.
"His parole could make him a target here. He just has two and a half months to go, and we don't want someone trying to make a name for themselves thinking, 'I'm going to go punch O.J. Simpson in the face,'" Keast said.
Simpson's new cell is the same size as his previous cell, but he has the space to himself instead of sharing it with another inmate.
Keast told CNN the cell was in a "quieter wing where he can come out by himself and not necessarily be surrounded by other inmates."
She stressed that it was the prison's priority that Simpson leave the facility "safe and healthy" when his sentence is over.
"We have to keep him safe for two more months," Keast said. "Now to make a name of themselves, they may think of doing something, acting out against inmate Simpson. We just can't have that."
Simpson, a former football star and actor, was unanimously granted parole after serving the minimum 9 years of a maximum 33-year sentence for an armed robbery and kidnapping conviction related to memorabilia from his NFL career.
The conviction came more than a decade after he was acquitted in the brutal 1994 knife killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman at her Los Angeles home.
Simpson requested to live in Florida, where he has family, when his parole begins in October. If his request is granted, Simpson would still have to answer to Nevada authorities regarding any violations of his parole.