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.

Just Posted

Chilliwack soccer star Jordyn Huitema coming home for the holidays

After a crazy-good year with the Canadian national soccer program, the teenager deserves a break.

Chilliwack jury acquits man of choking, violent sexual assaults of girlfriends

Michael Sean Myers found guilty of criminal harassment and uttering threats in BC Supreme Court

Chilliwack school kids draw ‘don’t drink and drive’ messages on liquor store bags

Children from six elementary schools decorate bags as part of promotion created by local Mountie

GW Graham basketball Grizzlies enjoy home court win in Showcase Tournament

The AAA senior boys powerhouse swept aside 4 opponents, beating Elphinstone for the tourney title.

Fish farm transition plan praised for its Indigenous involvement

Plan is to create a fish farm-free migration corridor to protect wild salmon

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Retailers feel the squeeze of their generous return policies

Technology data tracking can clamp down on fraudulent abuse

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

5 to start your day

B.C.’s top cop says Surrey needs more Mounties, nublication ban lifted on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school stabbing and more

Police have ‘viable suspects’ in B.C. gangster’s 2017 murder

Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg was successful in asking a judge to extend the length of time police can hold onto exhibits seized in connection with the homicide.

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Vancouver Island

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Stricter drunk driving laws to take effect across Canada today

It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop

Winter storm warning issued for Coquihalla highway

Total snow accumulations of 40-50 cm expected by Wednesday

Most Read