Oscar Pistorius could be released from prison next year after glowing behaviour reports

Oscar Pistorius could secure an early release from prison

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Convicted murderer and former Paralympic sprint champion Oscar Pistorius could be released from prison next year after receiving glowing behaviour reports during his time inside.

Pistorius won six Paralympic gold medals over 100m, 200m and 400m during a distinguished athletics career that also saw the man known as the ‘Blade Runner’ compete in non-disabled events and become a global sporting icon.

But he is serving a prison sentence of 13 years and 5 months in his home country of South Africa after shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in their home in 2013.

Pistorius’ initial sentence was six years for culpable homicide but following a 2017 Supreme Court ruling, the charge was upgraded to murder and his sentence more than doubled. Last year, a judge ruled that his term would be backdated to October 2014 when he first went to jail.

Now, he is taking the authorities to court to ask for an early release, arguing that he’s eligible for parole after serving more than half of his overall sentence, with his lawyers saying that last year’s ruling means he should have been able to apply for parole starting in February 2021.

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If the 35-year-old does secure a hearing, his parole case will be helped by glowing reports from rehabilitation officials at Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in Pretoria, which have been obtained by South Africa’s News24, which suggest he is something of a model prisoner.

Prison social worker Clara Erenst, prison psychologist VK Mabunda, Pistorius’s unit manager Mrs Makgatho and sports and recreation co-ordinator TP Hlako have all reportedly described him as safe for release back into society.

Oscar Pistorius is serving a prison sentence of more than 13 years for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Mr Mabunda wrote: “Mr Pistorius does not display any major unresolved criminogenic needs, rather he displays protective factors which could reduce his risk of re-offending (support from family).”

Ms Makgatho said Pistorius had attended all work and recreational programmes recommended, showing himself to be a “trustworthy individual who can defuse tense situations.” She added: “The offender is ready to re-integrated into society and will be a positive influence in the community and he has adapted well in the unit.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hlako wrote: “I can gladly without fear nor contradiction say that he (Pistorius) will be able to contain himself outside if he is faced with challenges. We have managed to train him on how to deal with all types of anxiety that are negative. It is therefore my submission that should an opportunity arise for him to be given a chance to finish the remainder of his sentence outside, he should be granted such.”

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The reports also reveal insights to Pistorius’s life behind bars, which include that he had a job driving a tractor on a prison farm, he has tended an allotment, worked as a cleaner at a special care unit and took part in a book club helping illiterate inmates learn to read and write.

However, his bid for a parole hearing is opposed by the vice chair of Atteridgeville’s Parole Case Management Committee, Tebego Moloto, and Steenkamp’s parents are also believed to be against an early release as they don’t think he has told the full truth surrounding the circumstances of their daughter’s death.

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