Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Rodenborg

Second Advisor

Dr. Anthony Bibus III

Third Advisor

Char Elioff MSW


The "war on drugs" and the "get tough" attitudes associated with it have resulted in disproportionate numbers of incarcerated blacks. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, nationally one in every 20 black men over the age of 18 is in a state or federal prison. In contrast, the incarceration rate for white men is one out of every 180 (Human Rights Watch, 2000).

This paper is a policy analysis examining one law that may affect incarceration rates for blacks, the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. Using the analytical model of Segal and Brzuzy, "Social Welfare Policy, Programs, and Practice," (Segal and Brzuzy, 1998) the paper provides an overview of Segal and Brzuzy's framework, and a literature review, followed by a description of the policy, implementation of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, and its' impacts on African Americans, and concludes with a summary and implications for social work practice


SC 11.MSW.2005.Massey.SD

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