Finally, the sentence for convinced Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is heading to an end as the correctional service department has sent him to a prison in Gqeberha in preparation for meeting Reeva Steenkamp's family.
Pistorius had been serving his sentence of 15 years under schedule six. Pistorius has been at Pretoria prison since the death of Steenkamp after he killed him on 14th February 2013 in a hail of bullets. His transfer is necessary so that the process of Victim Offender Dialogue can happen between him and the family of Steenkamp. This is to make it easy for the family of the victim as they reside in Gqeberha.
Singabakho Nxumalo briefed the media as they are busy with his soon release. He said offenders take part in the Victim Offender Dialogue as part of their rehabilitation path. This helps them to realize the harm they caused to their victim and the society at large. The offender cannot be released without this happening as he/she must face the victim's family and ask for forgiveness. Even if the family feels to forgive the offender the prison goes ahead and releases them for possible parole.
The process is done eternally and the prison usually asks those who take part to do so without being pressured to disclose any contents of the engagement. These VODs are very sensitive as the victim's family comes face to face with the offender. So they are in most cases very emotional, and inconsolable. For this reason, they are done by highly trained officials who are very professional. They make sure the two parties get value from the process in the form of closure and possible forgiveness.
The department is unable to pre-empt the time frame as this will be guided by the level of preparedness by all participants. This is the first step towards Pistorius putting in an application for parole. Nxumalo said Steenkamp’s parents agreeing to meet with Pistorius did not necessarily mean he would be granted parole. It is important to clarify that a VOD proceeding is not a parole placement process, but a program that takes place before an offender is considered for placement.
Tania Koen, a lawyer representing June and Barry Steenkamp, told the media that they are aware that Oscar Pistorius has been transferred to St Alban's prison. The department of correctional services will now follow the process to facilitate the victim-offender dialogue. We have no further comment.
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