Evicted for a family member's crime

A London borough is trialling a new scheme to cut down on crime amongst gangs in the English capital by threatening the families of criminals with eviction. But critics say the initiative punishes the innocent.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish WikiTribune, United Kingdom
Source: WikiTribune
Evicted for a family member's crime - NewsMavens
Knives. Eastnews.pl

Why this story matters:

"In essence, the innocent could be punished for the actions of the guilty."

A new scheme is being trialed by Islington Council in North London to combat a rise in knife crime. But, unlike traditional forms of punishment, the new initiative threatens to evict the families of gang members for the crimes committed by their relatives.

This form of "kin punishment" comes on the back of spiralling media reports that knife crime in the capital is on the rise. Knife crime has taken the lives of at least 60 people in the UK capital so far this year.

Under the policy, families of gang members who are convicted of crimes may be evicted. But critics say this is unfair, consists of "gesture politics" and punishes innocent people for crimes they did not commit.

The policy is also seen as problematic because it places eviction in the context of the penal code instead of housing management.

If successful, the plan is to make the eviction scheme nationwide.

Details from the story:

  • Run by the Integrated Gangs Team (IGT), a scheme being trialed by Islington Council, along with the Metropolitan Police, will allow authorities to threaten families with eviction from their council housing homes simply for being related to gang members convicted of crimes.
  • According to officials, this is part of an attempt to tackle the rise in knife crime that has escalated. Multiple media reports state that knife crime has taken the lives of at least 60 people in the UK capital so far this year.
  • The scheme is backed by £2 million ($2.6m) in council funding running into 2020.
  • IGT uses “youth services working directly with police, probation, Job Centre Plus, an NHS psychologist and voluntary organizations,” Islington Council told WikiTribune in a statement.
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