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Oscar Pistorius News: Steenkamp Family Unhappy With His Newly Granted Prison Privileges

( [email protected] ) Feb 20, 2015 03:20 PM EST
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to a five-year prison sentence after he was convicted of culpable homicide. However, Reeva Steenkamp’s family is not happy with the way he is serving his sentence now.
Oscar Pistorius. Werner Beukes/Reuters

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to a five-year prison sentence after he was convicted of culpable homicide. However, Reeva Steenkamp's family is not happy with the way he is serving his sentence now.

According to Jane Flanagan of the Daily Mail, Pistorius has been serving his sentence at Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria, South Africa's capital. The bosses at that prison decided to relax the terms of his incarceration after coming to the decision that his security threat was minimal.

"Clearly, the Correctional Services Department has a short memory [about what Pistorius did]," Reeva's uncle, Mike Steenkamp, said to Times Live. "If they grant these things, they must think he is a model prisoner."

Flanagan reported that Pistorius was upgraded to Category A status from Category B. The change was made despite the fact two years have passed since he shot his girlfriend at his home on Valentine's Day.

The Daily Mail described some of the new privileges Pistorius now had thanks to the change in status.

"Oscar Pistorius is now able to hug and kiss his visitors, own a radio and wear jewelry in a raft of new privileges behind bars," Flanagan wrote. "The convicted killer will also be free to make more phone calls, take up a hobby and have a bigger budget to buy toiletries and treats."

A family source told Flanagan that the changes made in the prison would help boost the disgraced athlete's morale behind bars.

"This has boosted him a lot," the family source said. "He has been very low in prison, although he seems to be getting all the support from the prison authorities that he needs."

The family source also told Flanagan that his siblings, Aimee and Carl, keep the rest of the family informed on the status of Pistorius.

"His new status means he will be able to have more visits - there are a lot of family members who would like to go and see him, but in the past have stayed away so that it is mostly Carl, Aimee, his aunt and grandmother who take the allocated slots," the family source said.

Before the new privileges were extended to him, the Daily Mail reported that Pistorius was previously separated from his visitors by glass, spoke through a handset and was strictly not allowed to touch anyone.

However, Flanagan noted that the star of the 2012 London Olympics still had to follow some prison rules.

"He and his visitors will be searched," Flanagan wrote. "Pistorius must continue [to] wear his prison-issue orange jump suit."

A prison guard told the Daily Mail that the former athlete spends much of his day isolated from other inmates. That's because the prison is notoriously dominated by gangs who exercise sexual and physical violence.

"As a precaution, Pistorius rarely leaves his hospital wing," Flanagan wrote.

Graeme Hosken of Times Live reported that Pistorius may be released into house arrest in August. However, the state wants to appeal both the conviction and the sentence, which may put this plan into flux.

"Pistorius is expected to fight any decision to convict him of murder or lengthen his prison sentence, despite the fact he ran out of money to pay the team who defended him at his lengthy murder trial," Flanagan wrote.

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