This Article argues that society must critically examine the types of labor we require our inmates to perform and prohibit the imposition of slavery, even when the enslaved is an inmate. Part II focuses on the text and history of Section 1 of the Thirteenth Amendment11 and argues that the Amendment’s exception allowing forced inmate labor is not as broad as it first appears. Part III examines the Eighth Amendment and how the imposition of slave status on inmates should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Lastly, Part IV applies these concepts to the history and operation of one such penal plantation, Louisiana State Penitentiary. This Article concludes by cautioning legislatures and prison wardens to be more cognizant of the inherent harms in selecting certain types of labor for inmates and will hopefully spark a broader public discussion on when inmate labor may be another form of slavery.
Andrea C. Armstrong, Slavery Revisited in Penal Plantation Labor, 35 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 869 (2012).