Three states on Tuesday approved voting measures that would change their constitutions “Prohibit slavery and involuntary slavery as punishment for crime”While a fourth state rejected the measure.
Approved Measures Restrict the use of prison labor in Alabama, Tennessee and Vermont, In Oregon, “Yes” was leading their anti-slavery ballot initiative, but the details were too early on Wednesday morning.
In louisianaIn a former slave state, voters answered negatively to a ballot question – known as Amendment 7 – asking whether they supported a constitutional amendment. Prohibiting the use of involuntary slavery in the criminal justice system.
The initiative won’t force immediate changes to state prisons, but could invite Legal challenges to the practice of forcing detainees to work under sanctions or threat of loss of privileges if they refuse to do so.
The results were celebrated by anti-slavery advocates, including those pushing for further amendments to the US Constitution, which Prohibits slavery and involuntary slavery, except as a form of criminal punishment,
After more than 150 years of enslavement Africans and their descendants were freed from slavery through the ratification of 13th Amendment, The exception to slavery still allows the exploitation of low-cost labor from imprisoned people.
“Voters in Oregon and other states have come together to say that this stain should be removed from state constitutions,” Jeff Merkle, a Democrat, Oregon Sen.
“Now, it is time for all Americans to come together and say that this should be removed from the Constitution of the United States. There should be no exception in the prohibition of slavery“, he declared.
With the creation of the federal June Day holiday last year, Merkle and Georgia Democratic Rep. Nikema Williams reintroduced Legislation to amend the 13th Amendment and end the slavery exception. If approved in Congress, the constitutional amendment would need to be ratified by three-quarters of US states.
after Tuesday’s vote More than a dozen states still have constitutions that allow captive slavery and involuntary servitude. Other states do not have constitutional language for or against the use of forced labor in prisons.
voters of Colorado became the first to remove the slavery exception from the state’s constitution in 2018, followed by Nebraska and Utah two years later.
The movement to end or regulate the use of prison labor has been going on for decades, dating back to the time when former Union states were looking for ways to maintain the use of slavery after the Civil War. Southern states used racist laws called black codeFor Criminalizing, imprisoning, and re-enslaved black Americans for benign behavior.
Jail work today A multi-million dollar practice. By comparison, workers can make money on the dollar. and prisoners refusing to work can be Denial of privileges such as phone calls and family visits, as well as facing solitary confinementAll of them get the same punishment as the one used during the film Bandhan. before the war.
“The 13th Amendment didn’t actually end slavery, it made it invisible,” Bianca Tylek, executive director of criminal justice advocacy group Worth Rise, told the Associated Press in an interview before Election Day.
The passing of the ballot initiative, especially in red states like Alabama, “is a great sign for what is possible at the federal level,” he said. “There’s a great opportunity here, right now.”