On September 18, the parole board will consider whether or not Oscar Pistorius should be released from prison under correctional supervision.
When does a prisoner in South Africa qualify to be considered for release (either under pardon or correctional supervision)?
In principle legislation makes provision that all sentenced offenders qualify to be considered for possible parole placement after they have served a specified minimum period of detention. This is an automatic process which occurs once you have served the prescribed minimum detention period.
According to the official DCS manual, Oscar was indeed considered too soon (around the 6 month mark). He should have only been considered for release once he completed 1/6 of his sentence (10 months) which was on August 21st. Long story short, the justice minister was right to hold Oscar in prison and schedule a hearing for his case to be re-considered. It wasn’t right because the women’s league requested the minister do so; it was right because the law was not properly followed.
It’s important for us to remember, being considered doesn’t automatically mean a prisoner is entitled to release. Release is something that’s awarded when a prisoner has earned it. Has Oscar earned it? It’s hard for any one of us to say. As much as many of us dislike the convict, we haven’t been in prison with him and therefore can only speculate. Regardless of whether or not we believe Oscar received the correct verdict and subsequent sentence, prisoners do have a right to be handled appropriately, not with prejudice, according to the law.
What do I think will happen, and what should happen? I previously hypothesized Oscar would be released on September 18th immediately after the hearing because Oscar’s been handled with kid gloves seemingly from the start. However, I’ve recently had a change of heart. It’s been brought to the public’s attention Oscar’s cell was raided back in May.
I find it interesting that raid was suppressed from the public until now; now that the justice system is under massive scrutiny not only for Judge Masipa’s questionable verdict but also because the parole board glaringly gave Oscar special consideration. Of course, it makes you wonder what else is going on in that prison. We don’t know the full results of that raid, but one thing certainly stands out and that is Oscar having access to a (computer) hard drive in his cell. Also, the speculation he had access to cell phones.
In light of one embarrassment after the next, I think the parole board will be cautious with Oscar’ decision. I think to be conservative, they will keep him in prison for now. To answer the question about what they should do – I believe they should keep him, at a minimum, until the hearing for the State’s appeal. With the possibility that Oscar could be facing a much longer jail sentence if the appeal is successful [lets hope it is], I can’t imagine why there’d be a rush to let him out two months prior to those proceedings.
I want to hear from you. What do you think will and should happen?
For more insight into the psychology of Oscar and what lies next for him, read FUGITIVE available on Amazon. It’s a narrative that’s shocking many readers with its perceptiveness and poignancy.