Former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius is set to be released from prison on January 5, as ruled by a South African parole board. Pistorius was convicted in 2013 for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The decision grants him parole, but he will be monitored by parole officials for five years until his sentence concludes in December 2029.
Under the conditions of parole, Pistorius is restricted from leaving the Pretoria area without permission, and he must attend programs addressing anger issues and violence against women. Community service is also mandated. The Department of Corrections emphasized that parole is not the end of the sentence but rather a continuation outside a correctional facility.
The parole decision comes after a hearing at the prison, marking Pistorius’ second parole attempt in eight months. Initially convicted of culpable homicide, the charge was later overturned, and Pistorius received a 13-year and five-month sentence for murder. He had been in prison since 2014, briefly released for house arrest in 2015 during appeals.
Reeva Steenkamp’s mother
Pistorius, who claimed he mistakenly shot Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder, was convicted on the legal principle of dolus eventualis. Reeva Steenkamp’s mother did not oppose parole but expressed doubts about Pistorius’ full rehabilitation.
While on parole, Pistorius is expected to reside at his uncle’s mansion in Pretoria, where he stayed during the murder trial. The athlete, once known as the “Blade Runner,” had been a celebrated figure in sports before the tragic incident.
During his incarceration, there were glimpses of Pistorius’ life behind bars, including reported Bible classes and occasional altercations. Despite the notoriety of the case, Pistorius’ lawyers maintain that he has been a “model prisoner.”
As Pistorius prepares for his release, questions about rehabilitation and the impact of his parole on the public sphere remain, given the high-profile nature of the case and the scrutiny surrounding his actions leading to Steenkamp’s death.