Nel: Prisons can deal with disabled people

2014-10-15 11:38

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Prisons have the necessary facilities to deal with people who have similar disabilities to Oscar Pistorius, the North Gauteng High Court has heard.

“Disability, we’ve checked, correctional services do have facilities. Psychological services, we’ve [also] checked,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said today.

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’ 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 yesterday, 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.

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