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S.J.Res. 81 (116th): A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to prohibit the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime.


The text of the resolution below is as of Dec 2, 2020 (Introduced). The resolution was not adopted.

Summary of this resolution

Think that America abolished slavery completely? Think again.

Context

In 1865, mere months after the end of the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment formally abolished slavery. Or did it? Although that’s what is often taught in school, the amendment actually left a loophole allowing slavery “as a punishment for crime.” What it actually banned was slavery for any other reason, notably the color of one’s skin.

The result is that in practice, compelled forced labor for no wages — or for less than one dollar an hour — is the norm for prisoners in many states. As of 2017, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, the highest that any state …


IIA

116th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. J. RES. 81

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

December 2, 2020

(for himself, Mr. Markey, Mr. Van Hollen, and Mr. Sanders) introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to prohibit the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime.

That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude may be imposed as a punishment for a crime.

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