Much of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is a red zone. (SFU)

‘Red zones’ keep offenders trapped in criminal justice system: SFU study

Researchers stake aim at geographic restrictions imposed as part of bail or sentencing

Unreasonable “red zones” keep offenders trapped in a life of crime, a new joint study out of Simon Fraser University suggests.

In findings released Tuesday, researchers said geographic restrictions imposed as part of bail or sentencing conditions, known as “red zones,” are often nearly impossible for offenders to keep.

“Red zones have been an issue… for at least the past decade or so, but they’ve gone below the radar,” said SFU geography professor Nick Blomely, who wrote the study with teams at the University of Ottawa and the University of Montreal. “It’s something that’s very, very prevalent in a place like the Downtown Eastside.”

Red Zones in Metro Vancouver by Katya Slepian on Scribd

The SFU team talked to dozens of people in Metro Vancouver who had been assigned “red zones” during a bail or sentencing hearing and found in many cases, these zones included people’s homes and heavily restricted their access to social services.

One of the subjects, Paul, was arrested for drug possession in 2013. When he was released on bail the following day, his red zones encompassed both the supervised injection site InSite and Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users offices.

Paul spent the next several years in and out of jail, largely for breaching his red zones.

When Paul’s lawyer questioned why his red zones were in the same location as he lived, the judge replied: “I guess he’s going to have to move.”

Study also takes aim at bail conditions

Blomley questioned why someone like Paul was subject to bail conditions at all.

“In the case of bail, no one’s been found guilty of an offence,” Blomley said. “The presumption of innocence should apply.”

“The top two offences in 2014 in … Canada were failure to comply with the bail order and breach of probation,” he said. “There are more people in remand than in prison in B.C.”

While bail conditions may seem logical at first, Blomely said, they stray away from the actual legal reasoning behind bail in the first place. Bail, the study said, was meant to neither punish nor rehabilitate.

The study recommended a more judicious approach to red zones that doesn’t make abiding by them impossible and trap people into a revolving cycle within the justice system.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Trail Kiwanians wrap up $10,000 hospital donation

The new KBRH emergency department opened its doors a few weeks ago

LeRoi Foundation donates to hospital in Trail

$5,000 comes to KBRH via Community Foundations Canada and ECSF

Trail market goes garlic

The event goes Saturday in downtown Trail from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read