This is a disgusting story. It’s disgusting because it involves maggots in the food served to human beings. But mostly it’s disgusting because it is further proof that privatizing critical government services to a for-profit company inevitably results in cutting corners and inhumane conditions, this time for prisoners.
Officials found maggots in food in three separate incidents at a Jackson-area state prison this summer, countering expectations that a change in contractors marked a significant reversal in the state’s prison food woes.
The discoveries at G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility came amid ongoing complaints and concerns about lack of sanitation, insufficient staff training and food shortages involving Michigan’s prison food contractor, Florida-based Trinity Services Group, according to records obtained under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.
Corrections officers and managers say there is a strong connection between food problems and prison unrest, meaning contaminated or poor quality food can be a security issue.
Maggots in and around food were an issue with the state’s former prison food contractor, Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services, whose three-year, $145-million state contract ended more than a year early, by mutual agreement of the state and the contractor, in 2015.
The new records, obtained under FOIA by a department employee and provided to the Free Press, mark the first maggot incidents publicly reported under Trinity, which was awarded a three-year, $158.8-million contract to replace Aramark.
This is a lesson that Michigan has learned over and over and over again. When Aramark had the prison food contract, there were maggots and rotten food and drugs being brought in for prisoners and Aramark employees having sex with inmates and so much more. Things haven’t gotten any better with Trinity involved. There are still drugs, sex, and more drugs and sex. Trinity got fined but the also got a raise that more than covered the fine (by $1.5 million, in fact.)
Thanks Governor Snyder.
For a guy who claims to be a tough nerd that runs the show based on data and results, you sure don’t seem to be able to analyze the data that’s plain for all of us to see. Your experiment with privatizing government services is a colossal failure. It’s time for it to end NOW.