A recent article by the Independent highlights yet another of the difficulties that prisoners’ families face: insurance. Insurers routinely treat families as ‘guilty by association’ and offer extremely raised premiums or even flat out refusals to insure. Their justifications are plain and dubious, for example: ex-prisoners may bring other offenders into the home. Or, the home may be attacked in some vigilante attempt at justice.
Besides the insurance inequity, having a partner in prison often means that half a family’s earning capacity is withheld, rendering them vulnerable to poverty, debt, and housing disruption. Finding employment after release can be difficult too. Adding a lack of insurance for one’s livelihood to this is guaranteed to increase the stress that families face.
The Independent quotes Gordon Dewer, managing director of the Salvation Army General Insurance Corporation: ‘that innocent families have to suffer is an inequity… they should not have to pay for crimes they have not committed. They have suffered enough.’
This is not a small problem. 9.2 million people in the UK have criminal convictions. One in three men has a conviction by the age of 53. Many of these people and their families will at some point face difficulty obtaining insurance and – because of this – stable housing. As secure accommodation is a key factor in preventing re-offending, these statistics illustrate an alarming society-level perpetrator of criminality and distress.
To read the full Independent article about insurance for prisoners’ families, click here.
On an individual level, the lack of insurance, housing, and financial stability that many families face as a result of a partner, parent, or child being detained in the UK or abroad is a huge cause of distress. Many experience uncertainty, isolation and impairing stigma alongside this distress, making for a very difficult experience.
Prisoners Abroad help the families of Britons imprisoned abroad to overcome these difficulties the best that they can. We run family support groups to promote solidarity with others going through the same thing. We provide information to help combat the overwhelming number of things that need to be known about international prison systems and about carrying on back home.