Corporatism, Privatization, Rick Snyder — March 17, 2015 at 6:06 am

UPDATED: For-profit prison food vendor Aramark served Michigan inmates rodent-chewed food


Another day, another report that for-profit prison food vendor Aramark has done something truly outrageous. Honestly, these stories have become so commonplace that writing them is like a wicked case of deja vu. This time it’s serving cake to prison inmates that had been partially eaten by rodents. The news comes out of emails obtained from a FOIA request by Progress Michigan. One line from the email, which you can read HERE, says it all: “The Aramark staff served cake rodents were observed eating from.”

A kitchen worked [sic] reported to custody staff that he was ordered to serve cake that had evidence that rodents eaten from it. The Aramark employee allegedly ordered him to cut the sides of the cake off and serve it to the population.

Aramark, of course, moved quickly to fire the person. But that’s not the point, right? The point is that, because they have a single-minded focus on maximizing profits, they far too often hire terrible employees who either think this sort of thing is okay or who are pressured into cutting corners wherever possible.

Either way it’s another example among a teeming plethora of examples of the abject failure of the for-profit model for providing essential government services that directly impact the lives of real human beings. But, despite the litany of abuses – which include Aramark employees having sex with inmates and bringing them drugs – Aramark continues to make a profit from our tax dollars as a vendor to the Department of Corrections. Our self-described CEO governor has gotten himself so far out on a limb defending the privatization of government services that he is apparently unable to admit that it has been a huge mistake. Instead of doing what any rational CEO would do and fire Aramark, he gives them yet another break every time something new comes up.

Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, released this statement:

It is past time for the Snyder administration to come clean about all the issues with the Aramark contract, it is clear that without numerous FOIA requests none of this information would have been disclosed. This is why access to public records like this is so important to ensure our government can be held accountable. The Aramark prison food service contract has resulted in drug smuggling, sexual contact between employees and inmates, an attempted murder for hire plot, maggots in and around food — and now this. The Snyder administration should use this opportunity to come clean about all the problems that they know of related to Aramark because the public has a right to know.

Progress Michigan is has just begun wading through the countless emails that they uncovered with their FOIA request. There’s sure to be more outrage in the days to come. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Corrections Department spokesman Chris Gautz was quoted in a piece in The Detroit News saying, “It should never have happened. (But) I don’t know what (the Corrections Department) could have done differently”. Here’s an idea: FIRE ARAMARK. Honestly, how bad do they have to behave before they lose the contract?