Now Playing

Jail Officials Fear for Ross Ulbricht's Safety

Hence the solitary confinement.

U.S. prosecutors may allege Ross William Ulbricht was a hacker, money launderer, and online drug dealer who allegedly hired a contract killer to take out a perceived threat to his Silk Road empire. But now that Ulbricht is inside the Glenn Dyer jail in downtown Oakland—faced with the very old-fashioned threat of hands-on violence—law enforcement is actually afraid for him.

Granting his first interview on Sunday to San Francisco magazine, Ulbricht told us he was in a cell alone 20 to 22 hours a day. He visits the jail yard alone, showers alone, and has no interaction with the other inmates housed in his wing.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, in charge of Ulbricht until his pending extradition to New York, confirmed the details Ulbricht told us about his daily jail routine. Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson told us that Ulbricht is housed in “administrative segregation,” a classification for inmates whom jailers deem a danger to other inmates, or in danger of  becoming a victim themselves of inmate-on-inmate violence.

Ulbricht falls into the second camp—the potential victim—mostly because he’s a high-profile inmate. Not to mention because he's pretty new at this whole imprisonment thing. "He’s probably never been in jail before,” Nelson said Monday. “You don’t want someone to make a name for themselves by doing something to this guy. He’s wanted in another state, and we’d hate to have someone not extradited because he got beat up in jail."

Perhaps this is one reason why Ulbricht told us he's "not excessively" worried about his future: He hasn't gotten to meet  his potential cell-mates yet.

Have feedback? Email us at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Lauren Smiley on Twitter @laurensmiley