Michigan’s attempts to privatize prison food services is still running into problems. The legislature approved outsourcing prison food service in 2012 to cut costs. But it canceled its first contract with Aramark in 2015, after numerous problems.
Reports obtained by the liberal watchdog group Progress Michigan show the prisons are still having problems with spoiled food and outside staff.
Progress Michigan also wants the legislature to stop outsourcing services. Spokesperson Sam Inglot said this “failed experiment” needs to end.
“Basically it’s more of the same,” he said. “There have been problems with this privatized, outsourced prison food contract from the beginning. Aramark had problems and Trinity is displaying a lot of very similar food issues.”
Michigan Department of Corrections spokesperson Chris Gautz said the legislature controls whether they use state employees or an outside provider.
“It’s no secret that we’ve had issues with food service venders that we’ve had since the legislature pushed us into this type of contract,” Gautz said. “That said, we have been working to hold to account our outside vendors.”
Gautz said the department has a contract monitoring unit that holds the food service to specific standards or risk fines. He said so far the current provider, Trinity, has been fined almost 2.5 million dollars since 2015.