Progress Michigan Predicted Privatized Prison Food Problems Would Persist

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from Progress Michigan

May 11, 2016

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org

Progress Michigan Predicted Privatized Prison Food Problems Would Persist

The vendor is not the problem, it’s Gov. Snyder’s governing philosophy of outsourcing

MICHIGAN — As predicted in a report released by Progress Michigan back in August, problems with privatized food service in Michigan prisons continue under a new out-of-state food service vendor. The Detroit Free Press reported today that drugs were found on a Trinity food service worker inside an Ionia prison.

In August, after the Aramark contract had been cancelled, Progress Michigan released a report showing that — regardless of the vendor selected — the state would not be able to hold private contractors accountable for food service.

At the time of the report’s publication, Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan said:

“With Gov. Snyder doubling down on his failed privatization experiment, it is important to understand that his own administration failed to hold the last vendor accountable. There is little doubt the administration’s failures will continue unless further scrutiny and accountability is applied to all privatization across Michigan.”

As predicted, problems have persisted under the privatized contract, with inmates at three prisons staging protests over food quality and reports of gang members taking control over the kitchens. The latest drug smuggling incident is reminiscent of common problems under the failed Aramark contract.

“Accountability is lost when public services like this are outsourced, which is why we see the same problems that were persistent under Aramark continue with the Trinity contract,”said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “You can change the vendor, but it’s the values with which the Snyder administration operates that need to be changed. You can’t value the bottom line over public safety. Unfortunately, Gov. Snyder’s decision to continue with failed privatization experiments shows that he still values the dollar above all else, even if it means endangering corrections officers, prison employees and inmates.”

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