Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

Assistant Professor Sociology
Office Location:
3359 Mississauga Road
Mississauga , Ontario
L5L 1C6

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah BA (Carleton) MA, PhD (Toronto) is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto and a Senior Fellow at Massey College. He holds Affiliate Scientist status at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and serves as Director of Research for the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty.  Dr. Owusu-Bempah’s work examines the intersections of race, crime and criminal justice, with a particular focus in the area of policing.  His current research projects include: 1) a study of public perceptions of the Ontario criminal justice system; 2) an analysis of the implementation of Impact of Race and Culture Assessments in Ontario Courts; 3) an examination of the Black Inmate Experience in Canada. He is also is studying various aspects of cannabis legalization in Canada and around the world. His research has recently been published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Race and Justice, and Theoretical Criminology.

Dr. Owusu-Bempah began his academic career in the United States at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to becoming a professor, he held positions with Canada’s National Judicial Institute, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Dr. Owusu-Bempah is frequently sought out to provide commentary and advice to police agencies, government bodies, community organizations, and media outlets on matters relating to policing, justice and social inequality.


Journal Articles

Kouyoumdjian, F., Wang, R., Mejia-Lancheros, C., Owusu-Bempah, A., Nisenbaum, R., O’Campo, P., Stergiopoulos, V., Hwang, S.W. (Forthcoming). Interactions between police and persons who experience homelessness and mental illness in Toronto, Canada: Findings from a prospective study. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Hamilton, H. A., Owusu-Bempah, A., Boak, A., & Mann, R. E. (2018). Ethnoracial differences in cannabis use among native-born and foreign-born high school students in Ontario. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 17(2), 123-134.

Unnever, J., Owusu-Bempah, A., & Deryol, R. (2017). A Test of the Differential Involvement Hypothesis. Race and Justice, 1-32.

Owusu-Bempah, A. (2017). Race and Policing in Historical Context: Dehumanzation and the Policing of Black People in the 21st Century. Theoretical Criminology, 21(1), 23-34.  

Cobbina, J. E., Owusu-Bempah, A., & *Bender, K. (2016). Perceptions of Race, Crime, and Policing Among Ferguson Protesters. Journal of Crime and Justice, 39(1), 210-229.

Owusu-Bempah, A., Kanters, S., Druyts, E., Muldoon, K. A., Farquhar, J.W., & Mills, E.J. (2014). Life Years Lost to Incarceration: Inequities Between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Canadians. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 585-591.

Owusu-Bempah, A. (2014). Cannabis Impaired Driving: An Evaluation of Current Modes of Detection. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 56(2), 219-240.

Millar, P., & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2011). Whitewashing Criminal Justice in Canada: Preventing Research Through Data Suppression. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 26(3), 653-661.

Wortley, S., & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2011). The Usual Suspects: Police Stop and Search Practices in Canada. Policing and Society, 21(4), 395-407. Reprinted in L. Weber & B. Bowling (Eds.) (2012). Stop and Search: Police Power in Global Context. London: Routledge.

Owusu-Bempah, A., & Millar, P. (2010). Research Note: Revisiting the Collection of “Justice Statistics by Race” in Canada. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 25(1), 97-104.

Wortley, S., & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2009). Unequal Before the Law: Immigrant and Racial Minority Perceptions of the Canadian Criminal Justice System. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 10(4), 447-473.

Book Chapters

Owusu-Bempah, A., *Luscombe, A. & *Finlay, B. (2019). Unequal Justice: Race and Cannabis Arrests in the Post-Legal Landscape. In A. Potter D. & Weinstock (Eds.) Legalizing Marijuana in Canada: Policy Challenges. Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.

Unnever, J., & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2018). A Black Criminology Matters. In J. Unnever, S. Gabbidon & C. Chouhy (Eds.). Building a Black Criminology. London: Routledge.

*Chapman-Nyaho, S., James, C., & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2018). Racism and Justice in Canada. In M. Hurbert (Ed.) Pursuing Justice. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

Owusu-Bempah, A., & Wortley, S. (2014). Race, Crime, and Criminal Justice in Canada. In S. Bucerius & M. Tonry (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook on Race, Ethnicity, Crime, and Immigration. New York: Oxford University Press.

Wortley, S., & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2012). Race, Ethnicity, Crime and Criminal Justice in Canada. In A. Kalunta-Crumpton (Ed.) Race, Ethnicity, Crime and Criminal Justice in the Americas. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wortley, S. & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2011). Criminal Justice and the Experience of Blacks in Canada. In B. Perry (Ed.) Diversity, Crime, and Justice in Canada. New York: Oxford University Press.

Research Reports

Wortley, S. & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2019). Scientific Framework for the Collection, Reporting and Analysis of Identity-Based Data – Validation Report.

Owusu-Bempah, A., James, C. E., & Sibliss, C. (2018). Expert Report on Crime, Criminal Justice and the Experience of Black Canadians in Toronto, Ontario.

Wortley, S. & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2018). Analysis of Historical Street Check Data from Various Ontario Police Services: Data Report. Toronto: Independent Street Checks Review.

Wortley, S. & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2018). A Social Scientific Analysis of Police Street Checks: Review of the Literature. Toronto: Independent Street Checks Review.

Wortley, S. & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2015). Final Report of the Youth Justice Education Program. Toronto: African Canadian Legal Clinic.

Owusu-Bempah, A. (2011). Race-Based Criminal Justice Data in Canada: Suggestions for Moving Forward. Ottawa: Public Safety Canada.

Levi, R., & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2010). Justice, Policing and Security: A Review of the 2009 Canadian Research Literature. Ottawa: Metropolis.

Wortley, S., Doiron, J., Owusu-Bempah, A., Marshall, L., Samuels, K., & Roberts, S. (2008). Preventing Youth Crime and Violence: A Review of the Literature. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.


Current Courses: 
SOC210H5, SOC322H5
Ph.D., M.A., University of Toronto
B.A., Carleton