For-profit prison food vendor Aramark is back in the news again with revelations that its employees served food that had been in the trash and were rinsed off, reheated, and served to inmates.
Aramark has a long history of patently absurd violations of state rules and, frankly, the norms of society, all of which have been documented here at Eclectablog. Aramark employees have been busted having sexual relations with inmates, bringing drugs to inmates, soliciting a hit on a prisoner, and even serving food that had been gnawed on by rodents. This is on top of food shortages and the discovery of maggots in food service areas (twice, actually) run by the private company that profits from our tax dollars.
The most recent revelation comes from a FOIA request by our friends at Progress Michigan. Emails obtained by Progress Michigan show that prisoners were served leftovers that had been discarded. From the email:
Mr. Chisolm discarded the left-overs from the line before the last half unit was in the chow hall. He then realized that there were more inmates to serve so he rinsed them off, reheated them in the oven and instructed inmates to serve them. They refused, so he and Miss Gibson proceeded to serve them to the remaining inmates.
Lonnie Scott, Executive Director of Progress Michigan issued this statement:
The fact that inmates refused to serve this food, and yet an Aramark employee felt comfortable doing so, speaks volumes about the company’s corporate culture. This contract has jeopardized the safety of prison staff, corrections officers and prisoners and Gov. Snyder needs to cancel the contract immediately.
Aramark has been an ongoing experiment by Gov. Snyder in privatizing government services to lower costs. However, as is entirely predictable and, in fact, was predicted, when profits are on the line, corners will be cut. It’s clear that the corporate culture that Scott references has led to this sort of corner cutting, resulting in inmates eating food out of the garbage without their knowledge or consent.
One wonders just how much of this evidence needs to come out before Gov. Snyder has to admit that his experiment has been an unparalleled failure and that the time has come to cut all ties with Aramark. Given that Gov. Snyder would then have to admit he was wrong about something, I suspect he will continue to hold on until the bitter end and at the expense of the inmates housed in our prisons.