Privatization, Rick Snyder — April 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Privatized Michigan prison food services vendor fined, gets raise to cover the fine with $1.5 million to spare


Two years ago, after privatizing Michigan’s prison food services to a company that then set out to prove what a fiasco this sort of thing is with scandal after scandal after scandal after scandal), Gov. Rick Snyder finally fired Aramark. He then hired another private firm, Trinity Services Group. Since that time, Trinity hasn’t fared much better, racking up $2.5 million in fines:

The Free Press published a series of reports on how the $145-million contract with Aramark had been marked by problems with food shortages, sanitation issues and Aramark workers getting too friendly with prisoners — in some cases, smuggling in drugs or other contraband or engaging in sex acts. There also were inmate demonstrations and other unrest related to food issues.

But some of those problems have continued under the new contractor. The fines assessed against the company have mostly been for unauthorized meal substitutions, delays in serving meals and inadequate staffing levels. The Free Press reported that total fines against Trinity had hit $2 million by January. Gautz said Thursday fines have since increased to nearly $2.5 million.

But Trinity doesn’t have to worry about those fines because the state of Michigan just gave them a big raise. How big? $4 million annually. That’s enough to pay off those pesky fines with $1.5 million to spare. In other words, the fines are being paid by the taxpayers.

[T]he House Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections approved a 2018 Corrections Department budget that includes a $4-million increase for Trinity, for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

In other other words, Gov. Snyder is so keen to prove that privatization works despite all evidence to the contrary that he’ll do anything to keep the company profitable. It’s the classic case of privatizing the benefit and socializing the costs. In the meantime, the prisoners suffer and we taxpayers foot the bill.