The families of prisoners suffer not just in the sense that their family member has been convicted and locked up. They suffer not just in the sense that their loved one is going through a tough time but also in the sense that insurance companies are now treating them differently. Even after their loved ones are sent back home the financial penalties continue.
Gordon Dewar is someone who speaks out about the excessive penalties insurance companies penalize inmate’s families with. He is the managing director of the Salvation Army General Insurance Corporation and says innocent families become guilty simply by association. These charges can take the form of a wife not being able to insure her home because of her husband’s criminal record or being charges much more than a family otherwise would. Even the children of a ex-convict will have to deal with penalties as they are assumed to carry higher risk from their home criminal connections. The families of sex offenders may have the hardest time getting home insurance however as they carry higher risk of vigilante attack. They are often denied home insurance altogether. Gordon says that innocent families have suffered enough and that they shouldn’t have to pay for crimes they did not commit.
In the UK this trend affects hundreds of thousands of homes. 9.2 million people in the UK have some sort of criminal conviction and one in three men have some sort of conviction by age 53. This is similarly the case in the United States making this issue far from small in scale.
Justice Andrew Selous has spoken to parliament about this issue and called the way families of inmates or ex-inmates have been treated as wholly unfair. He explains these families are innocent and vulnerable and that these extra costs leave them helpless in the event of catastrophe.