The Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude carves out an exception to its protections that allows the use of forced labor as “punishment for a crime” when an individual is “duly convicted.” Courts have interpreted this language as placing a categorical bar on Thirteenth Amendment claims alleged by individuals who are incarcerated. Yet, a consistent understanding of the term “punishment” that draws from the term’s use in the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause supports a narrower interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s punishment exception. This Note argues that individuals cannot be denied Thirteenth Amendment protections unless they are explicitly sentenced to labor as part of their sentence.
Forced Prison Labor: Punishment for a Crime?,
Nw. U. L. Rev.