Michigan and its controversial prison food services supplier, Aramark, are parting ways.
Aramark was only halfway through the three-year, 145 million dollar agreement. But it was plagued with problems such as maggots in kitchen areas, and inappropriate contact between Aramark workers and inmates. Recently, Aramark asked the state for more money in the form of new billing arrangements and menu adjustments. Instead, the state and the company agreed to end the contract.
“We will remain focused on moving forward,”
said Governor Rick Snyder.
“Michigan will continue to realize significant cost savings from this new contract. Our departments will work tirelessly with both companies to ensure a smooth, collaborative transition as well as quality service, security and safety within the facilities during the change.”
Chris Gautz of the state Department of Corrections says the contract will now go to Trinity Services Group, the only other company to bid on it.
“We knew they had put a lot of thought into this, and they had suppliers and a supply chain ready to go. They had the workforce ready to go. And so we knew that they could move quickly,” he says. “I think we’re all ready to have this work in the way it was intended.”
The Trinity Services contract will cost a little more – about $158 million over three years. But Gautz says that will still cost less than having food responsibilities handled by corrections employees. Democrats, progressives, and unions were never happy with the arrangement to privatize prison food services. State House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Pontiac) says that work should be done by corrections employees.
“I suspect we’ll see a lot of these same problems creep up when we yet again have a private contractor motivated by profit doing these services,”
says Greimel. The new contract must still be approved tomorrow by a state executive board.