Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

No Forced Labor for Criminals

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:  “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.”  Convicted criminals can be forced to provide labor as part of their punishment for breaking the law.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained, “But the convict cannot be leased out to a private contractor who pays his fine.  It has been held unconstitutional for a criminal to have his fine paid by someone and then be forced to work until the fine is paid.
                “However, the court has allowed cities and counties to assign prisoners to work out their fines on the street and roads, on public parks, and so forth.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 720.)

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