The Message Enterprise Programme (MEP) exists because we believe that every young person in prison has the God-given potential and ability to change and make a positive contribution to society. MEP unlocks this potential in young men, empowering them to become world-changers, so that they will multiply and transform others. However this is no easy task as our young men face the harsh realities of high youth unemployment, crime and re-offending in South Africa.
South Africa’s prisons are notorious for high rates of HIV, overcrowding, abuse, sexual violence and gangsterism. According to South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services (DCS), over 360,000 move in and out of prison with 80 percent coming back to prison after being released. Joblessness and poverty, rejection by family members, and a lack of rehabilitation projects all hinder ex-offenders from successful reintegration. Upon release, they are pressured by their families to provide and when they can’t find work, many will re-offend through the lucrative opportunities offered by gangsterism and crime.
Studies have shown that inmate participation in education, vocational and job training, and prison work skills development significantly reduces recidivism. We believe that prison is a storehouse of untapped potential.
According to the Department of Correction Services, the total budget for 2011-2012 was R15.2 million. Based on these figures, one offender costs at least R263 per day and R94,680 per year.
Through MEP, we can reduce the financial burden of offenders on the nation of South Africa and raise up world-changers. Reduced recidivism will not only decrease the financial burden on DCS and South Africa but will train up citizens that will contribute to society in a positive way.
MEP's holistic curriculum offers spiritual, economic, social and emotional support and training to reduce re-offending. We believe that young men have the potential to become community leaders, loving fathers, responsible citizens and catalysts for change across the nation of South Africa.