The Reputation Of Oscar Pistorius' Prison, Kgosi Mampuru II, Is Chilling
After more than six months of dramatic court proceedings, Judge Thokozile Masipa finally sentenced South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for the negligent killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. As he gets ready to start his sentence, get to know Kgosi Mampuru II, which Pistorius will call home starting Tuesday. The facility is infamous for once being the official site for apartheid-related executions and is home to some of South Africa's most dangerous criminals.
Pistorius' defense lawyers had fought against a prison sentence, arguing that prisons lacked facilities for the disabled and that the athlete may be specifically targeted in a prison environment, where gang violence and sexual assault can take place. But Judge Masipa dismissed these claims as unfounded and outdated, citing acting national commissioner for the Correctional Services Zach Modise's testimony that Kgosi Mampuru II alone was holding about 128 disabled inmates. Modise testified that Pistorius would most likely be held in a section of single cells known as the hospital wing, where showers are equipped with railings.
It remains to be seen how Pistorius will fare in prison, but one thing is for certain: He will have to serve a minimum of one-sixth of his total sentence — or 10 months — before he can apply to convert the rest of it into community supervision, which would most likely be house arrest. So here's a look at Pistorius' new home, where he'll live until at least next August.
The Prison's Dark History
Located in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, the prison facility, recently renamed the Kgosi Mampuru II Management Area, has a grim past. During the apartheid era, which lasted from 1948 to 1994, the prison hosted at least 3,500 executions of those who opposed the racial segregation system. The facility's gallows were built to hang up to seven people at a time, and has since become a morbid tourist attraction at the prison's Correctional Services Museum.
Pistorius' Notorious Fellow Inmates
At Pretoria Central Prison, Pistorius will be among convicted murderers, gang members, and drug dealers. One particularly infamous new housemate will be Eugene de Kock, who was once a death squad leader and assassin under the apartheid government. As commanding officer of C1, a counter-insurgency unit of the South African police who tortured and killed several anti-apartheid activists, de Kock earned the nickname "Prime Evil" in the press.
What He Might Have to Face Daily
Pistorius is actually lucky to be heading to a single-person cell because elsewhere in the facility, overcrowding has forced up to 80 men to share a cell meant for half that many. According to the Mirror, inmates often spend up to 23 hours in their cells and are constantly confronted by gang members who threaten to rape them or extort them for protection money. The Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons even revealed that these gang members can use HIV infection as a method to punish disobedient inmates.
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