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Gov. Snyder proposes getting rid of private food vendors in state prisons

cell block in a prison
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Snyder's administration and Trinity Food Services have mutually agreed not to extend their contract, which is scheduled to end on July 31.

In a move to restore prison food service jobs to state workers, Gov. Rick Snyder proposed an end to Michigan’s use of a private food company, Trinity Food Services, within the state's correctional facilities.  

The announcement came Wednesday morning during Snyder’s budget proposal to lawmakers. Snyder said his administration and Trinity have mutually agreed not to extend their contract, scheduled to end on July 31.

According to The Detroit News, the budget allocates $13.7 million to hire state employees for prison food service jobs.  

This would mark the end to a short history of privatized food service in Michigan’s prisons that has been wrought with controversy. In 2013, the state awarded the private Aramark Corporation a $145 million contract. The switch to privatized food led to 370 lost unionized state jobs being replaced by lower-earning private workers.

The change was supposed to save the state at least $10 million a year, but the contract was terminated in 2015 as Aramark faced fines and other sanctions for problems ranging from inappropriate relationships between inmates and Aramark employees to maggots found in kitchen areas.

The state hired Trinity in 2015 to take over for Aramark, but an investigation by The Detroit Free Press found three separate incidents of maggots in food at a Jackson-area prison.

Snyder says the move to hire state employees to do the work won’t result in higher costs for the state because the prison population is in decline.  

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