Akwasi Owusu-Bempah of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies analyzes why blacks and aboriginals are overrepresented in Ontario correctional system, and why this matters.
It may be of little surprise to some, but the over-incarceration of First Nations and African-Canadian people in Ontario should be of concern to everyone in this country.
The overrepresentation of these two groups in Ontario’s correctional system signals that aboriginals and blacks are either disproportionately involved in crime or they face discrimination in the administration of justice; available research indicates both to be true.
Why should we work to remedy this?
As the situation in many American states has made apparent, using incarceration as a means of controlling populations that are viewed as problematic in an effort to reduce crime is a costly endeavour that further intensifies the problems facing these communities rather than making them better. A smarter approach would be to deal with the causes of crime rather than the consequences. This is particularly true in the face of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime agenda.