Former Paralympic sensation Oscar Pistorius is set to taste freedom once again as he is released on parole after spending nearly 11 years behind bars following the tragic demise of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. However, this liberation comes with a set of legal conditions that will shape Pistorius’ path moving forward.
Post-Release Plans and Conditions
As an integral part of South Africa’s restorative justice program, Pistorius will transition to the community corrections system under the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). The parole, officially granted on November 24, is scheduled to commence on January 5.
Under the vigilant supervision of the DCS, Pistorius will be subject to parole conditions until December 2029. These conditions include the assignment of a monitoring official overseeing his job pursuits and residence changes.
Among the stipulations, Pistorius is obliged to participate in programs addressing gender-based violence and continue therapy sessions focusing on anger management. These measures were officially confirmed by a legal representative of the Steenkamp family. His expected residence will be in Pretoria, and alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited during the parole period.
Factors Influencing Early Release
The parole board carefully considers several factors before granting early release, including the nature of the crime, the likelihood of reoffending, behaviour in prison, and the physical and mental well-being of the inmate. Oscar actively engaged in the restorative justice program, a distinctive approach aimed at fostering reconciliation rather than solely punitive measures.
Pistorius’ Restorative Justice Program Participation
Pistorius actively participated in the restorative justice program, involving a victim-offender dialogue. Introduced post-apartheid, this system encourages parties affected by a crime to voluntarily come together for closure, aligning with indigenous cultural practices predating European colonization in South Africa.
In a significant development, Pistorius, alongside Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father, participated in a victim-offender dialogue on June 22, 2022.
Reactions to Early Release
In November, the lawyer representing the Steenkamp family expressed their lack of surprise over the parole decision, emphasizing that it followed the completion of a designated portion of Pistorius’ sentence. While Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, initially voiced doubts about Pistorius’ rehabilitation, she later released a statement expressing no objections to his release. After the parole was granted, June Steenkamp commended the parole board for involving the victims.