Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius may swop his tiny prison cell for home comforts in just over two months time, but it will be no walk in the park, as house arrest is not as easy as members of the public generally assume.
This is according to Pretoria lawyer Konrad Rontgen, in reaction to the news that Pistorius will be freed on correctional supervision on August 21.
This will be after he has served a sixth of his five-year prison sentence on a charge of culpable homicide following the death of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Pistorius was sentenced in terms of a provision of section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Act which states that an offender may be considered for correctional supervision after spending a sixth of his sentence in jail. He was sentenced in October last year.
When Pistorius is released later this year, it will be far from over for him, as he will have to adhere to stringent conditions for the remaining four years of his sentence, Rontgen said.
“It is easy for people to sit back in their Lazy Boy chairs and say it’s unfair and that the road ahead is a walk in the park for him. This is far from true,” Rontgen said.
“Pistorius will on his release date fall under the supervision and control of the Department of Correctional Services, until his sentence expires. Supervision takes the form of direct monitoring of the offender’s movements and compliance with the conditions as set out by the correctional officer.”
Rontgen said each offender’s conditions are stipulated by his correctional officer, as the officer may deem fit. While this is usually confidential, it will be discussed with Pistorius in detail before he steps back into the community.
“Conditions usually include a period of house arrest, which means the person must be home between specific hours of the day. Allowances will be made for work, as well as travel time. Concessions are also usually made for a few hours of shopping time over a weekend and time to go to church.
“He cannot randomly choose to go and visit a friend or take a stroll. Partying is also definitely out of the question. No alcohol may be used during the probation period.”
Other conditions may include attending treatment programmes, prohibition from leaving the magisterial district and even a certain number of hours of community service a month.
It is assumed that he will stay with his uncle Arnold Pistorius in his Waterkloof home.