Corporatism, Privatization, Rick Snyder — September 25, 2014 at 11:19 am

Aramark prison employee investigated for arranging murder-for-hire at Michigan prison, school pays price for hiring them


This isn’t GETTING ridiculous, this IS ridiculous

Seems not a week goes by that an employee for the for-profit prison food vendor Aramark isn’t busted for some illicit activity or another. In all, nearly 100 Aramark employees are now banned from Michigan prisons for having sex with inmates, delivering cigarettes and drugs like cocaine and heroin to inmates, and for egregious violations related to food services like maggots in food preparation areas and running out of food.

This time, an Aramark employee is being investigated for approaching an inmate about killing another inmate:

First it was drug smuggling and sex acts with inmates.

Now it’s murder for hire.

An Aramark Correctional Services food service worker at Kinross Correctional Facility in the eastern Upper Peninsula is suspected of approaching an inmate there about arranging to have another inmate killed, a Michigan State Police official confirmed Wednesday.

Det.-Sgt. Michael Schroeder of the Michigan State Police Sault Ste. Marie post told the Free Press Wednesday police have sent a warrant request to the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office following a lengthy investigation and are awaiting a response.

An inmate complained in July that a food service worker approached him about arranging to kill an inmate held at another facility, in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Schroeder said.

The worker was placed on a Corrections Department “stop order” — banning him from prison property — but has not been arrested pending the conclusion of the investigation, Schroeder said. He declined to release further details, saying “it’s still being investigated.”

Rick Snyder, for his part, is staunchly defending Aramark, a position that lead political writer Jack Lessenberry to conclude, “That’s not evading the issue; that’s just lying”:

What’s most baffling this time, however, is our Governor “Hot Wire Rick” Snyder’s slavish devotion to the company he hired to run Michigan’s prison food services after he gave in to the usual pent-up GOP desires to privatize them.

For months, no matter how bad things get, the governor defends Aramark Correctional Services. Maggots on the chow line? Employees frolicking and having sex with inmates? Smuggling drugs? Failing to show up to feed them?

Hey, Ranger Rick is relentlessly, positively optimistic. Last week, when another Aramark employee was caught attempting to smuggle cocaine, heroin, and pot into a prison in Gratiot County, the governor said, “Those are concern points.”

Ya think? What popped into my head was the bland voice of the NASA announcer years ago, when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up. “Obviously a major malfunction,” said he.

Snyder, however, was worse than that, telling reporters “the critical issue is we’re solving the Aramark problem.”

That’s not evading the issue; that’s just lying. The real mystery is why Snyder’s “brain trust” or anyone else with some degree of literacy would’ve hired Aramark at all.

Keep in mind that Aramark isn’t just involved in prison food services. They’re also in school food services. They were recently hired by West Bloomfield Public Schools and, according to at least one report, things are not going well. Not going well at all. This is via Laura Last Solomon on Facebook:

Empty vending machines. Click for larger version.

This year, West Bloomfield High School outsourced the lunch program to Aramark (the maggot/prison ‘food’) Since then, TWO long-time lunch ladies QUIT, the food is vile and the vending machines are EMPTY because that’s where the kids went to get SOMETHING to eat. MANY kids go hungry because SCHOOL is the only place they eat and all the OTHER kids are grossed out by the appearance & taste of the ‘food.’ The administration is listening… but doing NOTHING! It really is quite sickening. Does anyone have any great ideas to CHANGE what is going on?

Time and again, our corporatist governor and his cronies tell us that privatization is the pathway to better efficiency with improved services. Time and again, the reality of privatization proves that to be the predictable lie that so many of us have warned about: when essential services are outsourced to private, for-profit corporations, corners will be cut to enhance profits and those receiving the services are the victims.

UPDATE: It appears that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer agrees with my assessment on how ridiculous this situation has become:

The Aramark scandal has now crossed over into the territory of a bad primetime soap opera, except that in reality this governor continues to put the safety of state employees at risk and waste taxpayer dollars on a failed experiment in privatization. When will this governor realize that enough is enough? Inappropriate relationships with inmates weren’t enough. Heroin being smuggling into our prisons wasn’t enough. Now charges of murder for hire? It’s way past time for Rick Snyder to send Aramark packing and to end this $145 million contract.