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Unequal justice: Behind the Ontario jail data and Toronto Star analysis

Ontario's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services was quick to release adult data, but children’s ministry fought the request

The data that serve as the foundation for this look at Ontario jail populations by ethnicity was obtained through freedom of information requests by Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a University of Toronto doctoral candidate.

While the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services was quick to release adult data, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which oversees youth incarceration, fought the request, citing privacy concerns.

The youth ministry also argued that Owusu-Bempah ought to have made a research proposal, as opposed to an FOI. It initially said the requested ethnicity data — with the exception of aboriginal people — did not exist, and, finally, that producing it would cause hardship to the ministry.

Following a successful appeal by Owusu-Bempah and an order by the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the youth ministry released the data.

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