Report Finds Court-Imposed “Red Zones” Declare Large Parts of Vancouver Off-Limits

On duty

Routine, court-imposed conditions have the effect of excluding people from entire areas of Vancouver, a recent academic study argues.

In Red Zones and other Spatial Conditions of Release Imposed on Marginalized People in Vancouver, four professors from Law, Geography and Social Work faculties studied case law and interviewed criminal justice system participants to explore the conditions that people are assigned when they are charged or convicted of offences.

They found that while the Criminal Code requires bail be unconditional unless conditions can be justified (s 515), 97% of bail orders in Vancouver came with conditions (at page 4). Further, the found that these restrictions are geographically concentrated, very frequently excluding people from entering the Downtown Eastside, or other parts of Vancouver’s downtown core.

A number of constitutional rights appear to be affected when the state restricts an individual’s movement in the community, including rights to mobility, association, liberty and to reasonable bail. Interestingly, the authors describe such conditions as relatively routine and uncontroversial for many parties in the justice system, with constitutional challenges being quite rare (at page 71-77).

This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCLA or PBSC.