Brief Background

The United States Constitution addresses the issue of forced labor in prisons primarily through the 13th Amendment, which was ratified in 1865. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” 

While the 13th Amendment allows for the use of prison labor as a form of punishment, it does not specifically mandate or endorse forced labor in prisons. The implementation and regulation of prison labor are primarily governed by state and federal laws, which can vary widely across the United States. Prison labor practices have been the subject of debate and legal challenges in the U.S., with concerns about fair wages, working conditions, and exploitation. Many states have established guidelines to regulate and ensure the rights of incarcerated individuals participating in labor programs.

In other words, a type of “forced labor” is employed in most U.S. correctional facilities (public & private) as a form of punishment under the 13th Amendment. 

Our Position

At Bitcoin Transformation Community, we are committed to upholding the highest ethical standards in our work with prisons and incarcerated individuals. Central to our mission is the belief that every individual, including those within the penal system, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that their fundamental human rights must be safeguarded at all times. We recognize that forced labor is a grave violation of these rights, and we are resolutely opposed to any form of exploitation or coercion. 

Our programs are offered on a voluntary basis in both public and private facilities to any eligible population at the facility’s discretion.  Generally, we target those within 12 months of release to ensure they build the necessary skills to obtain employment once released. For all programs, we adhere closely to our non-discriminatory policy outlined in our bylaws which states:

BTCTC does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, the appointment to and termination from its Board of Directors, hiring and firing of staff or contractors, selection of volunteers, selection of vendors, and providing of services.

Our Ethics Statement on forced labor in prisons reflects our unwavering commitment to these principles:

  1. Respect for Human Rights: We affirm the inherent worth and rights of all individuals, including those who are incarcerated. We stand firmly against forced labor and any practices that infringe upon the basic human rights and freedoms of incarcerated individuals. 
  2. Voluntary Participation: We advocate for and support prison labor programs that are voluntary in nature. All of our programs are available on a voluntary basis to anyone who is interested. This aligns for our nondiscrimination policy. We believe that individuals in the penal system should have the right to choose whether to participate in work programs without fear of coercion, threats, or duress.
  3. Educational and Rehabilitation Opportunities: We encourage the integration of education, vocational training, and skill development into prison labor programs. These opportunities should contribute to the rehabilitation and reintegration of incarcerated individuals into society, empowering them to lead productive lives upon release.
  4. Continuous Improvement: We are committed to continuous self-reflection and improvement in our own practices and policies. We strive to ensure that our work with prisons upholds the highest ethical standards and contributes positively to the well-being of incarcerated individuals.

At the Bitcoin Transformation Community, we stand firmly against any form of forced labor and pledge to uphold the principles outlined in this Ethics Statement. We are dedicated to working tirelessly to protect the rights and dignity of all individuals, including those within the penal system, as we pursue our mission of promoting justice, rehabilitation, and social reintegration.