Lawmakers seek to end slavery for the incarcerated, which is legal in most states

When the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865, it abolished slavery or, involuntary servitude, in the United States, with one exception: when used as punishment for a crime.


On Nov. 8, voters in four states – Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon and Vermont – cast their ballots to eliminate language that allowed involuntary servitude in prisons.


These states join only three others in taking that step to completely abolishing involuntary servitude. Colorado was the first to approve removal of the language from the state constitution in 2018, followed by Nebraska and Utah in 2020.