Friday, 20 February 2015

Oscar Pistorius to receive new privileges in prison

By Erin Conway-Smith, Johannesburg
Oscar Pistorius has been given new privileges in prison, including the right to wear jewellery, own a radio and have physical contact with visitors, as the double amputee sprinter serves a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend.

Oscar Pistorius pictured during his trial Photo: EPA
Pistorius is said to have settled into life at Pretoria’s maximum security Kgosi Mampuru II prison, where he could serve just 10 months before being released to house arrest.

In October, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide in the death of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, after mistaking her for an intruder and firing four bullets through a lavatory door.

Anneliese Burgess, a spokesman for the Pistorius family, confirmed the 28-year-old’s prisoner status has been “processed” from “B” group to the lower-risk “A” category, which receives the most privileges.

This means he will be allowed an additional 24 phone calls per year, instead of just six, and a greater allowance of pocket money to buy drinks, snacks and toiletries at the prison tuck shop.
The Daily Mail reported Pistorius’s status was changed after prison officials decided the former Paralympic and Olympic athlete did not pose a threat to security. This is said to be standard procedure.

Under the inmate privileges system, Pistorius, who is known to collect expensive wristwatches, will be allowed to wear jewellery.

He will be permitted to hug and kiss visitors instead of the strict “no touching” policy, and will be able to practise a hobby and own a radio, among other privileges.

State prosecutors have been granted leave to appeal Pistorius’s conviction, arguing that it should be converted from culpable homicide to murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp in November 2012
The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed last week that it had filed notice to appeal, and is now waiting for a date at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein where arguments will be heard by a panel of between three and five judges.

South Africa’s Eyewitness News has reported that Pistorius is being treated like “royalty” while in prison, and prefers to spend time his time alone.

One of Pistorius’s cellblock neighbours is Radovan Krejcir, an infamous Czech gangster. The pair were briefly training partners on Mr Krejcir’s private exercise equipment.
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