Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Marilyn's Book Gangster's Moll

Marilyn Wisbey, one of the members from our women’s group GLADA Women’s Voices, grew up amongst some of the most notorious villians of London.  The daughter of one of the Great Train Robbers, Tommy Wisbey, she is also the goddaughter of the infamous Freddie Foreman (aquitted of the murder of Ginger Marks and convicted of being an accessory to murder with Reggie Kray of Jack “The Hat” McVitie). She was a long time friend of Reggie and Charlie Kray and was in a relationship with the legendary “Mad” Frank Fraser for ten years.

Today, Marilyn works voluntarily with ex-offenders and people who use drugs (ex and current)on various projects and strives to bring the social and economic issues faced every day by ex-offenders into public view. Marilyn says on her blog “For many UK ex offenders the prison sentence really does begin when you are released. Whether it is trying to get your home insured, get employed or even start your own business; getting back into society is an up hill struggle. Other minority groups face the same issues too – those who have gone through bankcruptcy, people recovering from addiction, those with minor mental disorders.”

It is well worth taking a look at Marilyn’s new website as one of the issues she is passionate about concern something very rarely discussed yet which has huge implications for people who have been in prison: INSURANCE – or rather the lack of access to it. It is related to all types of insurance including employees liability insurance (which makes it extremely difficult, expensive or impossible for employers who wish to employ ex offenders from accessing such insurance. This also applies ex offenders seeking household insurance, life insurance etc. Marilyn is working hard to find ways to lobby the government around this and similarly related issues for ex offenders.

Marilyn wrote this for our blog, earlier this month which gives an insight into the issues faced when you’ve just got out of prison – and, it seems, the sentence becomes a lifelong one…

The Prison Sentence Starts when You are Released

Imagine, you have come from a broken home age 14 years of age, have been abused, your living rough on the streets for years, you drink and shoplift to “survive”, cos you have no fixed abode. You then “sofa surf” with friends that are providing you warmth from the snow, in return for crime i.e. commercial burglary, smash and grabs. You are now aged 21, your arrested and spend time, along with the more experienced, professional, prisoners. You learn welding, or whatever they decide to teach you, you take the courses that are offered in HMP…Then your released, into a hostel and trying for employment, you’ve completed your parole, you’ve abided by the rules, you start to try to turn your life around….

You apply for work, you may even get a reply. If your accepted and get an interview (and you inform them of your past), you’re told I’m sorry, sir or madam, you were not accepted.

Years go by, you are scrimping by, do the odd decorating job, window cleaning…

You then start a college course, you get your diplomas, you start to find job, you get a reply, and are accepted, your life has started to turn around. You buy a small house, you decide now things are looking up, a mortgage first with your professional partner, things are going well, then all of a sudden, whilst your away on a Thomson’s holiday – you discover you have been burgled.

You call the police, you report everything, from the Ford Mondeo to the plasma TV, plus the personal damage to your home. You think well at least we were not in when it happened, ” thank god we were insured”. You call up your insurance broker to report it with the crime number.

You arrange for the assessors for appointment as they want to inspect your premises, “Ok”, they say “you will be hearing from us via a letter”. The letter arrives with them saying I’m very sorry, but we are not going to pay out, the reason being you never declared in your application that you were an ex-offender.

“Well there were no questions to that effect”, you say but the answer comes back, “Well you should have read the small print”.

This did happen to me many years ago with a car; I was in employment, but was unemployed when I made the claim, which was not carried out!

 Let’s not let financial exclusion from insurers destroy ex offender’s lives! Charities and organizations need to help address this issue and give correct advice to their clients about these issues.


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