Let’s End the 13th Amendment Exception Clause

The thirteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:

Thirteenth Amendment: “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.” January 31, 1865. Ratified by the states, December 6, 1865.

Let’s remove the exception clause (bolded above).

SEYM Minute: 17YM08 – Southeastern Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends joins in support of the national movement to remove the exception clause of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Currently, persons in prisons are coerced into working in what amounts to slavery. They leave prison with severely restrictive conditions of freedom that shackle their efforts for normalcy, often for the rest of their lives. We affirm that the purpose of prisons should be to protect members of society and prepare those imprisoned to return as productive members of their community through provision of comprehensive education and training. We further affirm that persons formerly in prison should have full restoration of constitutional rights, including access to housing, voting, and jobs.

We seek the above in light of the Religious Society of Friends’ (Quakers) testimony on equality and our history of seeking to honor that of God in everyone through justice that restores.

We ask other Yearly Meetings to join us in this ministry.

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