You can also join a march on August 19th in Washington DC, San Jose CA, Riverside CA, Asheville NC, Montgomery AL, Carrabelle FL, Kansas City MO, St. Louis MO, Albuquerque NM, Duluth MN, Omaha NE, Atlanta GA, Denver CO, Austin TX, Columbus OH, and/or find out other ways to get involved.
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The 13th Amendment (1865) ordered the abolition of slavery in the United States, except as punishment for a criminal conviction. In other words, federal law permits the use of incarcerated persons for free labor by state officials and also by the private sector.
Add your name to a growing movement to finally fix this injustice.
From the late 1800s until now, unpaid prison labor has been the pattern, practice, and collective mindset of various states across America. Southern states have taken particular advantage of the wording of the 13th Amendment, and in turn, current resistance movements have risen out of prison-dense states like Texas and Alabama, where units are often compared to plantations.
The degrading treatment of people in prison, however, is a nationwide issue, as shown in the widespread imposition of solitary confinement, assaults by guards, and medical neglect.
On Saturday, August 19th, prison activists and everyone who wants to join in will march in Washington DC, San Jose CA, and other cities around the country (see full list at right).
RootsAction stands in solidarity with these prison activists fighting for human rights, and we urge you to do the same.
People in prison, like all other human beings, should be compensated for their labor, whether with wages or with reduced sentences.
Paying incarcerated people for their labor enables them not only to better provide for themselves while in prison, but also to pay outstanding bills and unpaid court fees that have accumulated over time (and that may have landed many of them in prison in the first place).
Compensating imprisoned people for their labor through a legitimate "Work Time" system that reduces their sentence would grant them the opportunity to be reviewed early by parole boards and released back into society. This system also relieves state taxpayers, through the simple fact that an earned early release is one less imprisonment to pay for.
Sign this petition to demand that Congress propose a constitutional amendment to abrogate the "exception clause" which, since the 1865 passage of the 13th Amendment, has watered down the abolition of slavery, allowing that practice to continue being applied to individuals convicted of a crime and thereby legitimizing the systematic disrespect and abuse of people in prison.
After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.
This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now.
-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
> Amend the 13th; iamweubuntu.com
> Kim Gilmore: Slavery and Prison -- Understanding the Connections
> Victor Wallis: "13th" and the Culture of Surplus Punishment
> Kevin "Rashid" Johnson: Asthmatic Prisoner Doused with Pepper Spray, Refused Medical Care, Dies: Just Another Day in the Texas Prison System
> Kelvin "Khaysi" Canada: Abuse in Virginia Prisons
> Keith "Malik" Washington: Toxic Water, Deadly Heat and Prisoner Deaths Inside Texas Prisons