Disenfranchisement In Social Work

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There are certain laws in the United States that can prohibit individuals from partaking in their right to vote. The majority of state laws in the U.S. state if you are incarcerated and serving a conviction for a felony you are not permitted to vote until you have been released from jail or prison and/or have been release from parole or probation. Felony convictions result in some of the longest sentences imposed by the judicial system. In fact "prisoners released in 2009 served sentences that were, on average, 36 percent longer than those of offenders released in 1990" (Families Against Mandatory Minimums, 2016, para. 4). Approximately, 20 million people in the United States have been convicted of a felony and served time in jail or prison…show more content…
One of the fundamental values in the NASW Code of Ethics is social justice. As social workers we are responsible for promoting social justice and equality. “Social workers should act to expand choice and opportunity for all people, with special regard for vulnerable, disadvantaged, oppressed, and exploited people and groups” (NASW, 2008, 6.04(b)). Restrictive laws such as these illustrate the necessity for social workers to be involved and knowledgeable about current policy and the micro, mezzo, and macro implications they have. For example, as social workers we owe it to our clients to understand how policies and laws impact their access to resources and opportunities such as health care, education, employment and housing. As equally important, social workers must understand the mezzo impacts. Policy and law have significant affects on social environments and institutions such as schools and universities, hospitals, jails, communities, and social services. Finally, the NASW Code of Ethics speaks to the importance of comprehending the macro impact of policies and laws. Social workers have a duty to promote policies and laws that "safeguard the rights of and confirm equity and social justice for all people" (NASW, 2008,

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