Amendment T, No Exception To Involuntary Servitude Prohibition Explained

October 11, 2016

Article II, Section 26 of the Colorado Constitution says, “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

A “yes” vote on Amendment T would support an end to that exception. Both houses of the Colorado legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 16-006, sending this question to the voters.

Supporters of the measure say that “it represents a time in the United States when not all people were seen as human beings or treated with dignity. Removing the language reflects fundamental values of freedom and equality, and makes an important symbolic statement.”

Opponents say that it “may result in legal uncertainty around current offender work practices in the state. Prison work requirements provide structure and purpose for offenders, while enabling skill building and helping to reduce recidivism. … Such practices have a place in the correctional system.”

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