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Report: Records highlight Aramark's shortcomings

Prison fence barbed wire
Kevin Rosseel
Michigan ranks fourth in the nation for prisoner rehabilitation

A new reportsays contract monitors found 3,707 issues with food provider Aramark's performance from March 1, 2014 to September 12, 2014.

Aramark lost its contract to provide food services to Michigan prisons a month ago, after a string of controversies. Trinity Food Service, another private company, will soon be providing food services to the prisons. 

The report was done by Progress Michigan based on data it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The group spent about $10,000 to receive 25,000 records. 

Many of the issues the contract monitors found concerned food safety and facility sanitation. The organization says 48.3% of the issues were not addressed, which allowed them to persist. 

"It's okay to say we found 3,707 issues, but you have to actually fix the issues," Hugh Madden, communications director of Progress Michigan.  

The Michigan Department of Corrections says it didn't turn a blind eye to problems with Aramark. 

MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz says it's important to note most of the reported issues were not like those covered in the media, such as maggots in the food.  

"If we were not doing a good job monitoring the problems, they wouldn't have all the records and materials," Gautz said. 

He says contract monitors visit every prison on a quarterly basis. They required Aramark to make a plan of action to fix the problems they found, and the Department followed up until the problems were fixed. 

"We didn't turn our back on anything, we didn't let anything slide," Gautz said. "We continue to stay on them to make sure the issues were addressed."

You can read the full report here.

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