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Townes writes: "Two weeks ago Progress Michigan uncovered emails revealing that a prison food provider served cakes nibbled on by rats to inmates."

Prison food line. (photo: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press)
Prison food line. (photo: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press)

Maggots and Fly Larvae on the Meal Line: Dispatches From Michigan's Privatized Prison Food Program

By Carimah Townes, ThinkProgress

03 April 15


wo weeks ago Progress Michigan uncovered emails revealing that a prison food provider served cakes nibbled on by rats to inmates. They’ve now discovered that employees from this same food vendor, Aramark, served inmates at another facility an equally unsavory meal: garbage.

In an email exchange between the company’s general manager, Sigfried Linder, and the state’s Department of Corrections, Linder admitted that prisoners at Saginaw Correctional Facility were served food that was previously thrown in the trash. “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 the inmates to serve them,” read one email. “They refused, so he and Miss Gibson proceeded to serve them to the remaining inmates.”

The privately contracted food vendor, which services “healthcare institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses in 22 countries around the world,” has come under fire for serving contaminated food and engaging in gross misconduct in prison facilities statewide. After maggots and fly larvae were found near a meal-serving line, at least 150 inmates were quarantined for symptoms characteristic of the flu. One inmate sued the company for serving spoiled meat and moldy bread. In other instances, the company breached contract by simply failing to provide enough food.

Detroit Free Press also discovered that one-fifth of Aramark employees were fired for unsanctioned sexual encounters with inmates, tried to sneak in drugs, and showed up to work inebriated.

“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,” Progress Michigan’s executive director, Lonnie Scott, explained. “This is just the latest — and one of the most disgusting — examples of Aramark’s incompetency in our state. The public has a right to know what is really going on with this contract and it shouldn’t take thousands of dollars and FOIA’ed documents to get the truth.”

But the company, which has fed inmates dog food, worms, and scraps of food from old meals, maintains a stronghold on correctional food service in Michigan. Despite threats to terminate its contract, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) won’t let go of the company, which claims it will save taxpayers $12-16 million. Prior to hiring Aramark, Michigan refused to partner with private food vendors that could not realistically save the state money in the long-run. your social media marketing partner


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+19 # Merlin 2015-04-03 09:59
This is a great example of how privatization works! Capitalism in its finest hour!
+1 # 6thextinction 2015-04-04 09:39
You can thank Republican Gov. Snyder for this travesty.
+9 # reiverpacific 2015-04-03 11:01
Y'know I was wondering aloud about this when posting on an earlier RSN article on Mumya Abu Jamal's tardy and negligent attention to his kidney failure and Leonard Peltier's kidney problems, in wondering what the Hell inmates in spreadsheet-run , shareholder-acc ountable Private Prisons have to choke down and try to exist on.
Well, here's the answer with knobs on!
Thanks RSN and "Think Progress".
Imagine serving a long sentence in such a ghastly human warehouse? Shit, you'd die a lingering "Death where is thy sting" from the food alone!
Gawd knows where they dig up cynically exploitative, rat-shit companies like Aramark but of course this goes right to the heart of inhumane, profit-only Capitalism -and their company lobbyists, who must be deep in the pockets of Rick Snyder -a Rethuglicrat naturally!
Wonder if one can request, on conviction of anything, that you be sent to a State run penitentiary? Any lawyers out there know about this?
+2 # Citizen Mike 2015-04-03 11:11
Like those rotten meals onboard the Potempkin...
+1 # PCPrincess 2015-04-04 09:44
Dear Michigan State: I have a permanent solution to your so-called budget issues and your need to save money when feeding your inmate population. Release every single inmate incarcerated on a drug charge or a theft or forgery committed due to a drug addiction. Decriminalize drugs in order to prevent re-incarceratio n of many people. There, problem solved.

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