Ballot Amendment T: Should Colorado Stop Forced, Unpaid Labor of Convicted Criminals?
Should the state of Colorado stop forced, unpaid labor of convicted criminals?Amendment T is just one of the issues on the November ballot to be decided by voters over the next several days.
According to BallotPedia, here's the way the Colorado Constitution currently reads."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."
Amendment T would change the wording to this."There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude."
The argument in favor of the amendment according to the voter guide is this.
The section of the Colorado Constitution that allows slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime should be updated because 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. There are 25 other states that do not have any language related to slavery and involuntary servitude in their constitutions, and both prison work and community service programs are able to operate within those states
The argument against Amendment T, according to the voter guide says:
Amendment T 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. Community service programs allow offenders to engage with the community and make amends for their crimes
Is is just a matter of updating the language, or is it a bona fide change in the way convicted criminals in Colorado are punished?
There you have the basic arguments for and against Amendment T. Which way do you lean? Take our poll below and tell us what you think.