Slavery Abounds

Slavery Abounds

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . except as punishment for a crime . . . shall exist.
–13th Amendment (1865), U.S. Constitution

YES, it’s true! The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution still permits slavery for anyone convicted of a crime and imprisoned. Locked up now for over 17.5 years, I wrote “The 1865 Burden” as a poem to provide a behind-the-scenes peek at America’s 1865 slavery legacy — as it’s “being” applied in 2020 to me and other Washington state prisoners, and similarly to prisoners across the country.

The 1865 Burden

KNOW YE, future objects of vengeance
Your enslavement was decided in 1865

As criminals, you are Property of the State
HENCEFORTH, we authorize WA DOC to:

Strip away the dignity of your humanity
Assume control over your personal affairs

Yoke you tautly as fitting beasts of burden
Commoditize you by way of menial labor

Set a minimum grazing gratuity of 42¢/hr
Your day’s labor shall not exceed a meal tip

Lawfully deduct up to 95% of your monies
Of $100 from loved ones, pay you only $5

For 30+ years, deny cost OF living increases
Yet annually increase your costs FOR living

Ergo, increase your medical copay fees
Rec fees, and food and property prices

Feed you comestibles suitable for animals
Labeled, “Not fit for human consumption”

Offset budget cuts by reducing food quality
Supplement meals with pricey food packages

Provide offerings that exploit your loved ones
Design and benefit from the below offerings:

  • Phone company contract kickbacks
  • Deductions of money from loved ones
  • Jpay media contract kickbacks
  • Food and property program kickbacks
  • Misusing the Offender Betterment Fund

Signed and executed by:

WE THE PEOPLE of 1865
Slavery Pacifists / Slave Owners

Photo by British Library on Unsplash