On August 19, 2017, the iamWe Prison Advocacy Network, a nonprofit human rights organization, is hosting a march on Washington, DC. The cause is ending prison slavery.
In my post The Thirteenth Amendment Screws, I draw attention to how the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution does not prohibit slavery to all people in this country. This simple wording of the amendment illustrates the exemption for those convicted of crimes:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. (Emphasis added)
The Demands of the March
Here are the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March core demands for action as stated on the iamWe Prison Advocacy Network website:
- A) We DEMAND the 13th amendment ENSLAVEMENT CLAUSE of the United States Constitution be amended to abolish LEGALIZED slavery in America.
- B) We DEMAND a Congressional hearing on the 13th Amendment ENSLAVEMENT CLAUSE being recognized as in violation of international law, the general principles of human rights and its direct links to:
- Private entities exploiting prison labor
- Companies overcharging prisoners for goods and services
- Private entities contracted by states/federal government to build and operate prisons. This would also include immigration detentions
- Racial disparities in America’s prison population and sentencing
- Policing: the disproportionate (unaccountable) killings by police in the black and brown communities
- Felony Disenfranchisement laws
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement 34,000 detention quotas
- Producing the world largest prison population
Details of the March
Date: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time: March 11:30 a.m.–Noon
Rally Noon–5:00 p.m.
Location: White House (Lafayette Park)
Pennsylvania Ave NW & 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Why We Should Get Involved
The Thirteenth Amendment is the most evil, contradictory, controversial, deceptive, and despicable part of the US Constitution. The amendment runs neck and neck in terms of depravity with the US Constitution’s decree that an enslaved black person was considered three-fifths of a human being for purposes of increasing Southern slave holders’ voting power.
I support the demands for action being highlighted by the march. I lived in the world of forced cheap labor during my two years in prison. I earned $0.09 per hour working in the prison library. When I worked thirty hours a week, my pay was $2.70. One month’s pay equaled $10.80, and of that amount, 25 percent was deducted to reimburse the state for costs associated with my criminal case and for restitution being paid on my behalf from a fund overseen by the California state bar.
As a result, I earned very little to reduce the six-figure restitution order against me. That restitution is garnished from my wages each month and will outlive my years as a productive worker. The kicker is that there is no statute of limitations to end this financial life sentence fostered upon me by the state.
As with any other social change movement, money is a key factor to success. I hope you will be motivated, as I have been, to send a donation to The Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March.
Feel free to comment on how you’ve gotten involved.
Image courtesy of 123.rf