Prisons can deal with disabled people, court hears

By admin
15 October 2014

Gerrie Nel said about 128 disabled people were incarcerated annually, and that correctional services do have facilities for people with disabilities.

Prisons have the necessary facilities to deal with people who have similar disabilities to Oscar Pistorius, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.

"Disability, we've checked, correctional services do have facilities. Psychological services, we've [also] checked," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

Nel was cross-examining social worker and probation officer Annette Vergeer on a report she compiled that said the facilities in prisons were not adequately equipped for people with disabilities.

Vergeer said there were not enough psychologists in prisons.

However, Nel said that according to the law, prisoners were allowed to bring in their own psychologists.

Vergeer said because of factors including Pistorius's disability and state of mind, there were limitations placed on him.

"There are limitations. There are many factors... other than his disability and state of mind like his personality, vulnerability and all other aspects," she said.

Vergeer admitted that she did not have any statistics on people with disabilities in prison.

Nel said about 128 disabled people were incarcerated annually.

Vergeer presented her report on Tuesday, which the defence paid her to compile. She said that prisons did not have facilities like baths for physically disabled people and that the prisons were overcrowded and prisoners had to share group cells.

On September 12, Judge Thokozile Masipa convicted Pistorius of culpable homicide on for the Valentine's Day 2013, shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse. He was found not guilty of murdering Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Pistorius was found guilty of firing a pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013 and not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012.

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