Spatial Tactics in Vancouver's Judicial System

Date created: 
Downtown Eastside
Crime Prevention
Criminal Justice
Spatial Restrictions

This thesis draws on field work in Vancouver’s adult criminal court system, a quantitative analysis of a one month sample of court records, interviews with judges and attorneys working in Vancouver’s criminal court, and interviews with individuals effected by court orders to examine the legal construction, enforcement, and overall effect of spatially restrictive conditions of release, or ‘red zones’, imposed on bail. Conditions of bail are found to occupy an increasingly central role in contemporary Canadian criminal justice and serve as the basis for new forms of police practice. The law grants police and courts broad discretionary authority to impose red zones, based on standards of reasonableness that assume a connection between disorderly behaviour and particularly urban areas or zones. Quantitative analysis of court records finds that bail orders in Vancouver adult criminal courts routinely employ spatially restrictive conditions of release. These spatial restrictions concentrate in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood where they are used as a policing tool. In this context many Downtown Eastside residents find everyday behaviours criminalized and police discretion to search and detain increased. This research sheds light on understudied exclusionary aspects of the contemporary administration of justice in Canada.

Document type: 
Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
Senior supervisor: 
Nicholas Blomley
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.