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ACA-3: Involuntary Servitude

Updated: Jun 9

Introduced by Assembly Member Kamlager (Coauthors: Assembly Members Kalra, Wicks, and Lorena Gonzalez) (Coauthors: Senators Bradford, Portantino, and Skinner)


This bill is only one sentence –

“ SEC. 6. Slavery is prohibited. Involuntary servitude is prohibited except to punish crime. and involuntary servitude are prohibited.”

This simple change to the constitution to delete "except to punish crime" would have profound consequences for the state’s criminal justice system. Once the origin of this legislation is discovered, the purpose becomes quite clear. On the website of the Communist Party USA, one can find this article - https://www.cpusa.org/article/unify-the-oppressed-by-organizing-incarcerated-workers/ - defining the goal as unionizing inmates in prison. No longer would prisoners be required to clean their rooms, work in the kitchen, etc., unless they were paid minimum wage.


POSTED: June 9, 2022

STATUS: Senate Committee on Education and Constitutional Amendments

POSITION: Oppose


Thoughts for consideration:

  • Workers organize into labor unions for two purposes – to have control over working conditions and pay. Do Californians want inmates to have collective bargaining authority over those?

  • What would the cost be? The Riverside County Sheriff estimates a cost of $24 million to the county.

  • California developed the Industry Employment Program (IEP) in 2001 to enhance the ability of prisoners who voluntarily participate, to obtain meaningful jobs upon release, thus reducing recidivism and contributing to safer communities.

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