Oscar Pistorius could be released from prison on parole

(CNN) — South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, may soon be eligible for parole, according to prison officials.

Pistorius must first participate in a “Restorative Justice” program before he is eligible for release, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) confirmed to CNN on Tuesday.

“The Department of Correctional Services can confirm its commitment to the family of Reeva Steenkamp in a matter involving inmate Oscar Pistorius,” Department of Correctional Services spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo said in a statement.

Pistorius killed Steenkamp at his home in an upscale Pretoria neighborhood in the early hours of February 14, 2013, a murder he claimed was an accident after he mistook her for an intruder, but which the prosecution called an act deliberate after the two had had a fight.

Pistorius walked without a prosthesis to ask for mercy

The condemnation of Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius was originally convicted of manslaughter in 2014 after months of hearings. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but a higher court overturned the conviction and changed it to murder a year later.

The judge described Pistorius as a “fallen hero” who will never be at peace and sentenced him to six years in prison.

However, in 2017, a higher court in South Africa more than doubled Pistorius’s sentence for Steenkamp’s murder.

The Supreme Court of Appeals increased his sentence to 13 years and five months for Steenkamp’s murder. The court issued the ruling after the prosecution appealed his previous six-year sentence for being too lenient.

What do you need to get out on parole?

Before an offender can be considered for parole, they must participate “in programs designed to prepare them for a life free of crime beyond incarceration,” including Restorative Justice, where offenders can recognize and take responsibility for their crimes. their actions, says a statement.

The process is intended to “create an opportunity for the parties to reconcile” or apologize for their actions.

“Therefore, it was necessary for the Steenkamp family to be approached and this was done with the utmost care, as victims must be prepared before engaging in Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD),” the statement read.

As Oscar Pistorius is imprisoned in Gauteng and the Steenkamp family resides in another province, DCS has to work out logistical arrangements.

“This required a postponement as we are finalizing the modalities that will ensure all relevant parties are well prepared and ready to engage in an enabling environment,” the DCS said.

Tania Koen, Steenkamps’ lawyer, told South African broadcaster SABC in a video released Saturday that Reeva’s parents “confirmed that they would like to engage in victim-offender dialogue.”

“The wound, even though it’s been so long, is still very raw,” Koen said. “Every day is difficult for them.”

“June [la madre de Reeva] He has always said that he has forgiven Oscar, however, that does not mean that he should not pay for what he has done,” Koen said.

“So forgiveness is not a problem for June…Barry [el padre de Reeva] He struggles with that a little bit, but that’s something he’s going to have to express at the appropriate time.”

CNN’s Nicole Chavez and Sean Coppack contributed to this report.

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