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Chapter 4 explores recent trends in the administration of justice, using extensive court data obtained from Montreal and Vancouver. It also provides the opportunity to explain in some detail the current legal framework governing bail and community sentences in Canada and contrast it with legal practices elsewhere. The data reveal the widespread prevalence of territorial conditions of release at all stages of criminal proceedings, including at bail, where they should by law be exceptional. Such conditions, in turn, generate numerous breaches, which constitute criminal offences against the administration of justice. Echoing the concept of “net widening” (Cohen, 1979; 1985), this chapter suggests that conditions of release have directly contributed to a form of “judicial territory widening”, leading to the enlargement and expansion of the criminal justice system, affecting particularly marginalized populations.
Chapter 1 provides an introduction to red zones and other bail and sentencing conditions of release through the stories of three individuals whose lives and rights are directly affected by them. It discusses the legal context in which such conditions are embedded, details about the methodology and conceptual framework, and provides a first statement of the book’s overall argument.
In this concluding chapter, we discuss avenues of reforms. After a summary of the book’s most important contributions, the authors make specific proposals to change legal practices and discuss why red zones and conditions of release have become such a rights-free area, despite the enormous consequences on people’s lives.
Chapter 2 establishes the theoretical and conceptual grounds on which the study lies, arguing that we can usefully conceive of spatial conditions of release through the lens of critical legal geography, emphasizing the work of law in producing powerful spatiotemporal arrangements and representations that act upon the social world. Spatial conditions of release are as a form of legal territorialisation, or a strategic attempt at structuring socio-legal relations through the configuring of space and time. By territorializing a set of legal commands, legal actors aim to communicate, classify, enforce, and legitimize. Focusing on the practical work of spatial conditions of release directs us to the work they do in organizing socio-legal relations. In particular, the authors note the complex and simultaneous relational work of “cutting” and “joining” they entail.
Chapter 6 explores the institutional context in which the work of territorialisation is performed, its rationale, and its relational logic of cutting and joining. It first introduces the context in which conditions of release are imposed and how legal actors practically choose and design these conditions, relying on internalized institutional norms and practices as well as information on the interactions between the accused and the spaces where the offence is (allegedly, at first) committed. The chapter then presents the competing State interests pursued by different legal actors during the criminal process, focusing particularly on the shifting rationalities of bail from ensuring the accused’s presence in court and preventing crime, to therapeutic and law enforcement.This chapter illustrates how legal actors mobilize both space and time to achieve their different goals.
Chapter 3 delves into the historical context surrounding the ancient practices of bail and the origins of probation, as well as contemporary developments in Canada, the U.S.A. and the U.K. It goes back to the “antiquities of bail” (De Haas, 1940) and the origins of probation in order to contextualize and understand better the legal framework that governs them today. In particular, it traces the history of judicially imposed conditions of release, trying to identify how and when they came to be included in bail and sentencing practices. In order to trace the origins of conditions of release and of their intricate connection with the regulation of the poor, one has to follow the history of another important instrument of law enforcement, namely recognizances to keep the peace and peace bonds. This chapter ultimately shows how legal actors have throughout the history of English common law used the criminal process to create and enforce territories, directly governing people’s uses of spaces.
In Red Zones, Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Nicholas Blomley, and Céline Bellot examine the court-imposed territorial restrictions and other bail and sentencing conditions that are increasingly issued in the context of criminal proceedings. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with legal actors in the criminal justice system, as well as those who have been subjected to court surveillance, the authors demonstrate the devastating impact these restrictions have on the marginalized populations - the homeless, drug users, sex workers and protesters - who depend on public spaces. On a broader level, the authors show how red zones, unlike better publicized forms of spatial regulation such as legislation or policing strategies, create a form of legal territorialization that threatens to invert traditional expectations of justice and reshape our understanding of criminal law and punishment.
Chapter 7 focuses on the lived impact of red zones and other bail and sentencing orders on marginalized people’s lives and rights. The spatial and temporal dimensions of these orders are particularly consequential. By isolating spatially and temporally the individuals subject to such orders, they put their safety, security, and lives at risk, impede successful reintegration, and create further social and economic barriers and constraints for individuals who are already socially and economically marginalized. Such orders also increase the risks of violent encounters with the police as well as life-threatening experiences of incarceration, connecting marginalized people with networks of oppression. Although these consequences directly infringe on some of their fundamental rights, such arguments rarely reach the courtroom.