“I was in prison and you visited me…” (Matthew 25:36).
“To proclaim liberty to the captive…” (Isaiah 61)
“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners…” (Hebrews 13:3)
Society says “Lock them up and throw away the key!” Politicians say “We must build more prisons.” Statistics say “80% of released prisoners return to prison. We are wasting our time trying to rehabilitate them.”
Jesus says “I was in prison and you visited me.”
- Two-thirds of prisoners come from broken homes.
- 95 percent of the men in prison had no loving father figure as a role model.
- Two-thirds abuse themselves with drugs and alcohol.
- 80 percent of female prisoners have been physically, sexually abused.
- 50 percent of male prisoners have been physically or sexually abused.
- 45 percent of men were out of work when they were arrested.
- One-half never went beyond a sixth-grade education.
- 60 to 80 percent cannot read or write well enough to get along in society.
- More than 70 percent have tattoos that say ‘born to lose’ or something similar.
It is a known fact that our prisons actually produce worse criminals who are filled with hatred, bitterness and a determination to take revenge on society.
We are all touched by crime in some way. There is no business or family that has not been touched. Some crimes serious with far-reaching consequences — fraud, robbery, violence, murder, rape, child kidnapping, and drugs. The SAPS are trying extremely hard and are achieving successes in apprehending criminals. The justice system then convicts and sends them to prison. Eventually these prisoners, having served their term, come out of prison — most often with no job, no support structure, no family and no finances. They have little option but to turn back to crime and the cycle repeats itself, again and again, getting worse each time.
No one in our society is safe. The financial drain and loss to our economy is astronomical. Can we make a difference? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ But we all need to contribute.
One rehabilitated criminal makes a huge difference by stopping another robbery, rape or murder by becoming economically active again. This is a huge social blight on us all.
We can change society, one rehabilitated prisoner at a time, making it safer for everyone.
The programme we are offering begins by reaching prisoners in their cells, working to rehabilitate their mind-set, teaching them principles of love, forgiveness, integrity, honesty, stewardship, accountability and basic life skills.
Over the past five years we have proven that this programme has a real impact on prisoners and has produced a lasting change in behaviour. Reports from the prisoners themselves, as well as prison authorities, bear witness to this fact.
Ultimately this programme will provide various support structures to assist prisoners when they come out of prison. Food, clothing, accommodation, employment opportunities, spiritual care and guidance are just some of these needs.
Business, the economy and ultimately the country will reap huge benefits, over time, from the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Gospel for Africa Transformed: About the Prison Ministry
We are a ministry that offers prisoners a correspondence discipleship course, one-on-one discipleship, skills development, a certificate on completion and thereafter three ministry CD’s every three months until their sentence is complete.
Gospel for Africa and Christian Truth Ministries partner on the Prison Rehabilitation Programme.
Who is Christian Truth Ministries (CTM)?
CTM is a registered non-profit organisation with a Section 18A Tax Accreditation for prison rehabilitation.
CTM Prison Ministry was born out of a need to pray for a prisoner who was in prison for murder. He had come to know Christ in prison and, having ‘time’, requested a bible and Christian reading matter. CTM recognised the potential impact of a Christian correspondence course amongst those most in need of salvation and, nine months later, had all the materials ready. The first application form was sent out to a prisoner who had written to CTM from a prison in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
CTM now has over 1,050 prisoners signed up on the course full time, with a waiting list of nearly 500. On completion of the course, each prisoner receives a certificate as well as an on-going supply of CD’s which further communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. Currently CTM is in 14 out of the 265 prisons in South Africa.
Joint Missions Conference
In 2011 we held a Missions Conference in East London with representatives from Christian Truth Ministries (CTM) and Gospel for Africa to streamline and combine our efforts and resources to make a greater difference in the missions we are involved in as they complement each other.
A decision was taken that week-end to join forces and to have CTM do all the administration as they are a registered non-profit company with a section 18A accreditation. Our primary focus in this joint venture would be the CTM Website and the prison ministry.
We are currently working towards developing a programme of rehabilitation, skills development and entrepreneurship. We have targeted two areas to get a model working before we endeavour to run the same model in all the prisons in the country.
The two areas we have targeted are KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Newcastle. We have been given access to a number of prisons in these two districts working together with Correctional Services and the Chaplains who oversee these areas. We are currently working toward establishing churches in the prisons as well as skills development programmes and our desire is to raise up inmates within these churches who will lead them and run the skills development programmes.
We have achieved this objective at Sevontein Correction Facility and are in the process of developing the same programme at Waterval Prison.
We live in a violent country and Correctional Services do not have the capacity, or the will, to rehabilitate offenders and we believe we can play a significant role in the rehabilitation of offenders. At Sevontein Prison we have proven that this is possible, we have a Church of around 100 inmates that have been given a cell for a Church, and a room where we run the workshop. The benefits of this programme, we firmly believe, will have a major impact on our nation. The budget required for the immediate needs to develop the model would be R20,000 per month.