The Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery in this nation, contains a notable exception.
- 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.
- Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
In theory, I agree with this exception. I can envision a degree of criminality by which one would forfeit his humanity, and I would find no injustice in turning such a person, on proper conviction for such criminality, into a piece of property that may be sold and bought and in every way used as a slave. The Thirteenth Amendment does not prohibit this.
In practice, it probably wouldn't work. Someone of such a degree of criminality as to deserve slavery would probably be too dangerous to allow even that degree of freedom or access to other people.