Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius parole process to start in South Africa

South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, in prison for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, may soon meet her parents as part of the process leading to parole being considered, officials say.

Pistorius was sentenced for murder in 2015.

He has effectively served half of his 15-year jail sentence, meaning he was now eligible for parole.

South Africa’s department of correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed that Steenkamp’s parents have been contacted about the potential parole.

“The Department of Correctional Services can confirm its engagement with the family of the late Reeva Steenkamp on a matter involving inmate Oscar Pistorius,” Nxumalo.

Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, have been approached for the Victim-Offender-Dialogue. This would entail a meeting between the family and Pistorius.

“The department introduced Victim-Offender-Dialogue (VOD) in November 2012, with an aim of strengthening the Department’s rehabilitation interventions geared to change the behaviour of offenders, and place the victims at the centre of the criminal justice system,” Nxumalo said.

Some reports have indicated that the department has not dealt with the Steenkamps with sensitivity.

Nxumalo denied this: “It was necessary that the Steenkamp family be approached and this was done with utmost care as the victims must be prepared before they participate in the VOD.

“This is done by our specialists (social workers, psychologists and spiritual care-givers) in order to ensure that appropriate care is afforded as this can be a sensitive, emotional and inconsolable engagement.”

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