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My new Constitutional Amendment, and why it matters:

In 1865, a majority of these United States ratified the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery once and for all...

... with a notable exception: "except as a punishment for crime"

Even today, America's prisoners, disproportionately Black and Brown men and women, work for almost nothing—all for the profit of the prison-industrial complex.

Slave labor, to this day.

And that's why I'm introducing a Constitutional amendment to bring it to an end once and for all.

It has to stop: sign my petition and demand Congress and the states end slave labor in America's prisons by passing my Amendment.

It's a detestable loophole that's been there since slavery was publicly outlawed.

During Reconstruction after the Civil War, far too many newly-freed citizens were arrested for minor offenses (many of them, like "loitering", only used against Black men), thrown in prison, and then - under the 13th Amendment's exception - forced to work for free for former slaveholders, sometimes in the very fields of the same plantations they were freed from.

There's a straight line from convict leasing under the 13th Amendment in the 19th century to today's mass incarceration. Ever since slavery was outlawed, the criminal justice system has disproportionately incarcerated Black Americans—and forced them to work for other peoples' profits.

Next month, I'll be introducing a Constitutional amendment to end this racist legacy of slavery.

Sign my petition and let's build this movement, because it's time to end slavery in all its forms.


Sign the Petition

Posted on August 26, 2020.

Born in the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, Jeff Merkley has never lost touch with his working class roots.

As a U.S. Senator, he works every day to create opportunity for working families, stop the corruption of our democracy, and tackle the climate crisis.

A workhorse and a progressive champion, Jeff Merkley is leading a movement to get our country back on track.

Meet Jeff

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