Nel deals with prison concerns

2014-10-16 11:41
State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel. (Themba Hadebe, Pool)

State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel. (Themba Hadebe, Pool)

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Pretoria - Paralympian Oscar Pistorius would not have his prostheses taken away in jail and could use his own doctor, the North Gauteng High Court has heard.

"The registered nurse will report any medical assistance device in possession of the offender," prosecutor Gerrie Nel read from documentation.

"Such devices may not be removed without the instruction of the medical attending," he continued.

"That is correct My Lady," acting national correctional services commissioner Zach Modise replied.

Modise was testifying in aggravation of sentencing for Pistorius, found guilty last month of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Nel was dealing with concerns raised by testimony for the defence that there were not adequate facilities in prison for disabled prisons, and that Pistorius would not be safe.

Modise said within six hours of admission to a prison a health assessment would be carried out on an offender.

Within 21 days there would be a "complete assessment" of a prisoner's needs. This would be used to compile a "sentence plan".

Modise said a prisoner could use his own doctor but would have to pay out of his own pocket.

Training facilities

Modise also informed the High Court that South African prisons have sport facilities and gyms.

"We also have offenders that are taking part in athletics, soccer, rugby and boxing."

He said that inmates even took part in sporting events and competed with other inmates.

The spiritual needs of inmates were also looked after.

Modise said that when prisoners went into facilities, it was ensured that correction and rehabilitation took place.

He said they offered various programs in education and skills training, including carpeting, spray painting, agriculture, cooking, painting and cleaning services.

On 12 September, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for the Valentine's Day 2013, shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse. The court found him 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.

Modise said that there were gangs operating in prisons but they had anti-gang structures in place.

"My Lady, in our facilities in the country, we have gangs that are operating - gangs that are trying to take over the running of the centres," he said.

"Some of them... come to correctional services already being gang leaders.

"But I can assure this court that the department of correctional services is dealing with the issue of gangsterism. We are doing that with the SA Police Service and our intelligence community."

Pistorius was also found guilty of firing a pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013.

He was found not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car in Modderfontein on 30 September 2012, and of illegal possession of ammunition.

Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial

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