In Landslide Colorado Voters Abolish Prison Slavery

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Above: End prison slavery protest from national prison strike 2018.

Last November, Colorado became the first state to abolish prison slavery. Colorado voted overwhelmingly in favor of abolishing slavery and forced servitude as punishment for a crime.

The Colorado constitution included a passage that 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.” Sixty-five percent of voter supported ending prison slavery. 

Abolish Slavery Colorados co-chair Jumoke Emery said: “Regardless how people feel about the criminal justice system, the ultimate outcome is that it shouldn’t be slavery.”

Language still exists to allow forced servitude as punishment in more than a dozen state constitutions, Emery hopes this vote “opens up the door to a larger conversation about what abolition really looks like and can accomplish.”

The victory for prisoner rights comes at a time of resistance by prisoners. There was a national prison strike last summer and there are ongoing prisoner strikes still going on. Abolishing prison slavery was the second demand of strikers.

A second victory occurred in Florida where voters restored the voting rights to 1.4 million formerly incarcerated Americans. Reinstating voting rights was associated with the 10th demand of the national prison strike.

  • Ignatz deFyre


  • dopfa

    Super Kudos to Colorado! It’s high time to abolish the American institution of slavery.

    The US Constitution says the same thing:

    “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.” Time to abolish the caveat clause there too. Slavery has no place in human society.
    Next thing to abolish is the prison industrial complex. The “torture for dollars” system does nothing to correct behavior and everything to worsen it.

  • jho blho

    Yeah! Now lets place a similar proposition before Californian voters. Why should the state rely on prisoners because we now have an endless fire season and not enough paid wildland firefighters?