Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Change In Thirteenth Amendment Urged By American Correctional Association

photo courtesy of  "Prison is the New Slavery"  website
The ACA is a nationwide association which sets accreditation standards for U.S. jails and prisons. Neither our local jail nor the MRRJ is yet accredited by the ACA, though the nearby Albemarle/Charlottesville Regional Jail is.

Here's the text of the resolution passed at the ACA national conference in Boston last week:

WHEREAS, Section 1 of the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution provides that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the united states;” and

WHEREAS, the American Correctional Association decries the historical applicability of slavery and involuntary servitude as acceptable punishments for those convicted of crimes; and

WHEREAS, in its “Code of Ethics”, the American Correctional Association expresses that it “expects of its members unfailing honesty and respect for the dignity and individuality of human beings;” and

WHEREAS, the “Declaration of Principles” of the American Correctional Association stipulates that we have “a special responsibility to protect from harm those who are involuntarily under (our) care and control” and that “contemporary standards for health care, offender classification, due process, fire and building safety, nutrition, personal well-being, and clothing and shelter must be observed;” and

WHEREAS, the American Correction Association believes that periods of incarceration should not be imposed as punishment for crime, but should be utilized to provide activities that enhance self-worth, community integration and economic status through work, education, vocational training, counseling, medical, mental health care and restorative justice programs; and now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Correctional Association finds the ‘Exclusion Clause’ to Section 1 of the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution to be inconsistent with its basic founding principles and standards; and now

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Correctional Association supports amendment of the Constitution to repeal the “Exclusion Clause.”
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