Prison Food Problems May Lead To Contract Showdown - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Prison Food Problems May Lead To Contract Showdown

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(WLNS) - The State Department of Corrections may soon scrap a $145 million contract with its food provider.

Six months ago Michigan prisons decided to privatize their meal provider and hired a Philadelphia company to handle the job of feeding prisoners.

Many state employees lost their jobs in the move and now the Department of Corrections may be backtracking.

Smuggling pot into prison, inappropriate contact with prisoners, drunk on the job.

These are just a few violations committed in the past few months by employees of Aramark, the Philadelphia company Michigan Department of Corrections hired when they privatized their food service contract in December.

"We're still seeing some of these issues that are problematic for us".

MDOC spokesman Russ Marlan says each Aramark violation is a breach of their contract with Michigan Corrections, a $145 million contract which saves MDOC $16 million a year.

Most recently Aramark ran out of food at a number of prisons, prompting MDOC to fine them $98,000 and send the company a warning letter.

Reporter: "what would it actually take to terminate this contract?"

Marlan: "Well, I think this letter tells them starting July 1st any breach of the contract could result in a fine, could result in termination of the contract.

That corporation is deficient in how it operates its system as far as we're concerned."

Reporter: "Should they already be out?"

Marlan: "They should be out.

Mel Grieshaber represents corrections officers who he says are put in danger when they respond to protests or prisons strikes because of lack of food

"It's been horrendous over the last six months. We've had so many incidents--daily--in every one of these prisons across the state."

Aramark declined our request for a phone interview but sent over this statement saying:

"We have made a great deal of progress and continue to work diligently to address any issues that arise."

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