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By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Henry Tran, a Contributor to Simon Fraser University’s The Peak, reported that a new study found the bail conditions on alleged offenders including substance users can prevent overall access in Downtown Eastside Vancouver to harm reduction services (2017).

Professor Nicholas Blomley from Simon Fraser University and a master’s student, William Damon, published the study that said the “red zone” or the “no-go” bail conditions can prevent access to those services.

Based on the reportage from the study, “more than half of the bail conditions for drug offences included a no-go zone, 92 per cent of which were concentrated in the Downtown Eastside.” This is stated, by Tran, to have implications for the well-being and health of substance users in Vancouver.

The red zone blocks access to harm reduction services including overdose prevention and safe injection sites.

The lead researcher in the study, Marie-Eve Sylvestre, said, “Our study reveals that conditions of release are too frequently used in Vancouver in ways that are counterproductive, punitive, and frankly unlawful, threatening fundamental constitutional rights.”

Purported drug use offenders can be susceptible to recidivism, so they can go back into the criminal justice system. “Between 2005 and 2012, 97 per cent of all bail orders in Vancouver included conditions of release,” Tran stated, “which contradicts the Criminal Code requirement of unconditional release, the study outlined.”

The current system, with bail, would violate the right of the individual and others including their security, according to Blomley.

The Government of British Columbia has no address these problems within the criminal justice system.

References

Tran, H. (2017, November 8). Study finds bail ‘no-go’ zones block access to harm-reduction services. Retrieved from https://the-peak.ca/2017/11/study-finds-bail-no-go-zones-block-access-to-harm-reduction-services/.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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