Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah was recently featured in an article about Black overrepresentation in Ontario's jails

June 2, 2021 by Victoria Shi

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah was recently featured in an article titled "New data provides a rare glimpse at 'substantial' Black overrepresentation in Ontario's jails" in the Toronto Star. 

Although Black overrepresentation in jails is primarily associated with the US, Professor Owusu-Bempah explains in this article that it is a prevalent issue in Canada as well. In Ontario, "nearly one out of every 15 young Black men in Ontario experienced jail time, compared to one out of about every 70 young white men". Young Black men who are incarcerated are also more likely to come from low-income neighbourhoods that are heavily policed. Professor Owusu-Bempah says that this is a troubling issue as incarceration can have detrimental effects on one's future.

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the Mississauga campus. His research examines the intersections of race, crime and criminal justice, with a focus on policing.

We've included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article on the Toronto Star.

"At the root of the higher rates are “historical and contemporary social circumstances of Black people in Canada,” note the researchers. These include 200-plus years of slavery and anti-Black racism, and disparities in many systems, including education, employment, child protection and justice.

Black people experience higher rates of child apprehensions and school suspensions and expulsions, and are more heavily policed, the authors said in highlighting disparities found in numerous studies, and also groundbreaking reporting done by the Star around Toronto police arrest and charging patterns and carding, when police stop, question and document citizens in non-criminal encounters."