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Colorado inmates say state is violating ban on forced work

Why is there a slavery amendment on the Colorado 2016 ballot?
Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 19:24:09-05

DENVER (AP) — Two Colorado inmates who say they were pressured into working despite health concerns are suing the state’s prison system, saying it is violating a constitutional ban on slavery and involuntary servitude.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, they claim they effectively had days added to their sentences when they initially refused to work in 2020 because they lost time credits for not following prison rules.

In 2018, Colorado voters amended the constitutional amendment outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude to remove a provision that had allowed it for those convicted of crimes. This came after a 2016 vote to eliminate an archaic and offensive reference to slavery as punishment for crimes in the Colorado Constitution failed due to lack of clarity.

The Colorado Department of Corrections declined to comment.