Oscar Pistorius, who was sentenced in 2014 to five years in prison for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been released from prison to serve the remainder of his sentence for culpable homicide under house arrest terms.
Oscar Pistorius, the ‘blade runner’ was convicted in October 2014 of ‘culpable homicide’ after shooting his girlfriend of four months, Reeva Steenkamp. Having spent one year of his five year sentence in maximum security prison, Pistorius was released under the cover of nightfall on Monday 19th November. He will spend the rest of his sentence under house arrest in his uncle’s mansion in the upmarket area of Pretoria in South Africa.
The release came a day early, believed to be a deliberate move to avoid a media frenzy, which has once again ignited the debate as to whether the sentencing of Pistorius delivered adequate justice for the death of Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot by Pistorius four times through the locked door of his bathroom, after he claimed she thought she was an intruder.
Under South African sentencing guidelines, a non-dangerous prisoner should spend only one-sixth of a custodial sentence behind bars. Pistorius has spent this year in the hospital wing of the maximum security prison, with the allowance of one hour for recreation outside per day. He was allowed his own bathroom, lavatory and to cook his own food. Over the course of the next four years he will be expected to undertake as much as three-hundred hours of community service and will most likely be confined to Pretoria, having to apply for special dispensation if he wishes to leave the area for exceptional circumstances.
The spokeswoman for the Steenkamp family, Tania Koen has expressed that the family is indifferent as to whether Pistorius remains incarcerated or not, ‘as it makes no difference now; Reeva is still not coming back’. Women’s groups, however, have criticised the decision, believing it to be a representation of the injustice and inequality faced by women in South Africa, going so far as to argue that the original sentence for Pistorius did not reflect the severity of his crime. The ANC Women’s League said they were ‘disappointed’ about Pistorius’ early release.